Research has shown that non-verbal communication makes up anywhere between 70% and 90% of our overall communication. Through non-verbal communication we gain true and intended meaning from others. Since this percentage is so large it would be ridiculous to ignore the development of non-verbal communication. Without non-verbal communication, understanding the world can be a confusing place and without the use of non-verbal communication others may misunderstand you or get the ‘wrong end of the stick’ when you are communicating to them. When children understand non-verbal communication, they’re going to have a better chance in their school life, making friendships that last among other things such as telling the difference between being bullied and playfully teased. We know this is an area that we can develop, enhance and therefore improve quality of interactions and life.
There are various types of non-verbal communication and it all happens simultaneously: Prosody, Changes in tone, Emphasis, inflection and Pace of speech, Facial expressions, Gestures, Posture, Physical space, (how far you are standing from somebody) Context Prior relationship with the communication partner. For a good chance of understanding communication we are required to pay full attention to everything at the same time. Where this poses a challenge for children with autism is an overload of information. Neuro-typical children or typically developing children tend to go through gradual bandwidths of communication; as you know, no one enters the world talking. Understanding of communication is developed very, very slowly. It begins with facial expressions, then gestures or physical positions and then they might start to hear the intonation of the voice; sounds going up and down, lots of ‘oohs’ and ‘aaahs’ and then much, much later, it becomes the understanding of words and developing vocabulary. It is crucial that we support children to become EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATORS who not only communicate their needs and wants, but also communicate for pleasure, for sharing experiences and of course, it’s really important they understand what’s really being said to them. What can you do about it? 1. Use more non-verbal communication 2. Exaggerate and amplify your non-verbal communication 3. Use non-verbal communication for experience sharing purposes and instrumental purposes. 4. Isolate each mode of non- verbal communication There is a truly fantastic blog post that just highlights all of the above so perfectly. Please take some time to view this as it illustrates with video interactions and describes the guides thought process with what is going on so beautifully. http://brightsideoflifeasd.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/rocking-non-verbal.html
If you would like to discuss how the RDI programme can help you support your child to notice the important stuff in communication then please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a time to talk.