Dynamic Communication

Communication is so much more than the words we speak.

Take a moment to view these twin babies communicating beautifully with each other.

This has to one of my all time favourite clips.

Dr Gutstein describes the development of communication using the analogy of “bandwidth”.

Typically in the first two years of life, all before infants use speech to communicate they use the many channels of non-verbal language to communicate effectively with their parents, these include:

  • Facial expressions

  • Gestures

  • Body language

  • Vocal elements like intonation, timing, emphasis, pacing (otherwise known as prosody)

Often people and children on the autism spectrum learn to talk without many of these elements in place and will have difficulty using language and non-verbal channels of communication in the following areas:

  • To express curiosity

  • Invite others to interact

  • Share perceptions and feelings

  • Coordinate their actions with others

Too often parents and professionals are focused on verbal language and teaching words instead of understanding and developing the other channels of communication. The person for whom speech is the only communication channel is, in many ways, cut off. While everyone else’s brain is using facial expression, vocal tone, gesture, clothing and context, intentions, shared history and posture to communicate, this person only knows one piece.

The Relationship Development Intervention® Program helps parents and individuals work to rebuild communication skills from the bottom up.

Parents can encourage broadening their child’s "bandwidth" by:

  • Slowing down their communication pace

  • Providing simple shared experiences with their child

  • Limiting the amount of verbal language directed at the child

  • Increase and amplifying their use of gestures, facial expressions, pausing, body language and positioning

  • Limit questions, commands and prompts

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