Thursday, 8 November 2012

Telephone training

My son Nugget is seven and a half (don't forget the half. It is important.). I realised whilst I was in hospital that he can't talk on the telephone. He'd get all flustered, freeze and say he couldn't hear and then get the cranks and walk away.

When I got home from hospital, I decided it was time to do some telephone training. I used to do this sort of thing when I was a speech pathologist with my clients who stuttered (because stutterers stutter more when they are on the telephone and need lots of practise during therapy).

Last night Nugget managed to call Gran to tell her that he had lost his front tooth. I think she even managed to make out the purpose of the call, the exciting story about how the tooth fell out* and a few other little bits and pieces about his day.

He got off the phone with the biggest smile on his face and a fist pump. "I did it!"he said, a mixture of surprise and pride detectable in his voice. "And it was easy".

So how did we go from Mr Freeze to Mr Ease in just a couple of training sessions?

1. I found every available phone in our house (three) and showed Nugget how they work. I pointed out the hearing pieces, the speaking pieces, the number pads etc. and I got him to hold the phone up to his ear.

2. Next we talked about what people say when they a) call other people and b) receive a call. Scripts, if you like. Then we practised our scripts with me holding one phone and him holding another.

3. When he was comfortable with that, I made a few 'real' phone calls with him and reminded him to use his scripts. First I rang him as me. Then I rang him pretending I was someone else. We debriefed about that.

4. The next step was getting him to call me. We did that a few times. He had to ring me to tell me something important about school, then to ask if a friend could come over for a play date, and lastly he had to pretend to order a pizza.

5. The final step was to get him to make a phone call for real. We practised what he wanted to talk about. I dialed the number for him and away he went. Thank God for good ol' Gran who ran with it and helped make it a success.

He's lined up to tell her that the tooth faery came last night (the new guy is doing a much better job that the previous incumbent).

Have you had to teach your children to use the telephone? Or are they more like my daughter who was a complete natural?

* He has lost two teeth in the past week, both whilst eating. The first he managed to swallow but this one he caught on his tongue!


Seana said...

I have totally had to teach them all except one. Luckily a speechie taught us how to do it with number 1 son... it took forever! Some of them love to use the speakerphone now and they just yell and holler into it... doesn't quite work especially when they all talk at once.

My husband still requires some training mind you.

How are you going??

Lucy Mulvany said...

We are hopeless. No home phone, so no idea where to start! You have set me thinking - thank you! xx

Sam-O said...

My 3 yo was born knowing how to talk on the phone. The 6yo prefers to tell at the speaker phone. They are funny in their preferences aren't they?

River said...

None of mine needed any instruction, I'm sure they were born knowing how to use a phone, which is a little surprising, since we didn't even have a phone until #3 was on the way.

Mrs Catch said...

This was a great post! I've seen kids freeze up when they had to use the telephone and it's really hard to know what to do to help. Unfortunately, I have trouble getting my kids off the phone. They would surely talk for a week if I let them.

Anonymous said...

I remember being 7 and being scared of the phone. And at 32 I'm still not keen on it.
Phone training is a great idea. I think I might follow your lead and do it with Louis with is 6 and a half. I don't want him being a phone weirdo like me.

Anonymous said...

My kids all love the phones from an early age...havachats here. Hope your healing and feeling better after the surgery...I alas need this op too, just need to move a bit more weight and gain some courage :)

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