Turning on the subtitles when he watches his favorite movies.
My son didn’t start talking until he was four years old. Even now, at ten years, he is far behind his peers and still has enormous trouble communicating when he is upset, confused, or hurting.
Anything that helps him understand his emotions, motivate his speech, or improve his reading comprehension is important for him. And for our family.
This morning, he came up to me and spontaneously rattled off a list of words – “sighing,” “echoing,” “stammering,” “gasping,” and “straining” – and he gave me appropriate examples of each one.
His new vocabulary came straight from the subtitles of the movie Enchanted. Each word appears in parentheses there to describe the dialogue and emotion in the current scene.
He has read those words and listened to the associated speech a hundred times. Now, he knows it all well enough to come up with examples of his own.
When my son first insisted on reading the subtitles a few years ago, I found it very distracting. We displayed them by accident once or twice, and it seemed the faster we reached to click them off, the more he wanted them on. Smart boy. Now, he turns them on for everything.
The subtitles help his awareness of ambient (and usually meaningful) background noises as well. In Enchanted, he knows when to listen for “truck horn honking” and “glass breaking” and he has made the connection between these words, their sounds, and the storyline.
Subtitles also make it easier to catch elusive song lyrics. Enchanted includes some amazing and very clever musical scenes. Despite the beautiful, clear voice of Disney princess Giselle (played by Amy Adams), some of the lyrics were a mystery to us until we read them at the foot of the screen. Now, we laugh every time we hear and see them.
These days, I can’t imagine watching a video with my son and not having the words on.
Those subtitles help my kid. And that helps me. 🙂
What simple things help you and your kids?
P.S. Easter Egg ears are all the rage in our house today. 🙂