If you’re happy and you know it…Clap your hands!

A few weeks ago Lexi started flapping/waving. This is just like babbling in that it is her first attempts to start communicating (just with her hands!). At the moment she does it whenever she feels the urge. Every time she does I eagerly wave back. Lexi is beginning to notice when we wave back and her grin is intoxicating and mega cheeky when she realises we are copying her and she has created a game!

To start with waving is just a step up from the cause and effect games she has been doing the last few months. (An example of a cause and effect game: when she learnt that if she moved her leg [cause] she would move the balloon attached to it [effect]).

I’m gradually trying to shape her attempts by showing her when it is appropriate to wave. For example in the morning I hold her up in front of the mirror and wave hello at her, or when people arrive at our house I wave hello while holding her so she can see.

James takes a little longer than he used when he leaves the house now. I know this is because he just doesn’t really want to leave but it benefits Lexi because it gives her more thinking time to process the scenario and what is happening. We found that slowing down and exaggerating waving when it is appropriate encouraged Lexi to wave and join in the social gesture. We also use the word hello/goodbye each time we wave. Repeating the two together over and over again helps Lexi to begin to understand what the words mean. Eventually she may just hear the word ‘hello’ and start the waving herself!

Clapping started about the same time as waving and she learns how to clap in the same way she learns to wave. First she clapped by mistake and I copied (see my post: Copy Cat). She enjoyed the sound, the feel and me copying her, so she did it again. We sing “if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands” every week at swimming and she is starting to join in with everyone there clapping away.

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