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Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust

Conversation & interaction – Schools

Young children begin learning about conversation and interaction within the first few weeks of their lives. The first interaction they engage in is non-verbal – they learn to make eye contact, watch and use facial expressions, imitate others and take turns in simple interactions. These non-verbal interaction skills are then used throughout life when we interact with others.

When children are playing they are developing their social communication skills. As they get older, these skills practised in play enable them to work co-operatively in a group with others. To take part in a conversation with others, children need to be able to:

  • Take turns to talk
  • Listen to others
  • Be aware of what the listener knows and what they are interested in
  • Talk about the same topic as others, and change topic appropriately
  • Start conversations and join conversations appropriately
  • Keep conversations going with a range of people in different situations, by making relevant comments or by asking questions.

As students get older, they are expected to be able to use language to interact appropriately with others, including asking questions, negotiating, giving opinions and discussing ideas and feelings. They need to know the appropriate language for each situation they experience (e.g. when to use slang, and when to use more formal language).


Last updated: 17 April, 2018

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