SELECTED ARTICLE
Author
Nicole Beurkens 
Article Title
Nonverbal Communication: What’s it all about? Part 3 
Posted Date
10/13/2008 

This is part 3 of a 3 part series on nonverbal communication in children.

Working to improve the use and understanding of nonverbal communication is essential for a person with an autism spectrum or neurological disorder. In most cases, working to improve nonverbal communication is the best place to begin improving communication abilities. Expanding the ability to use and understand nonverbal communication provides the necessary foundation for building meaningful dynamic communication. Just as a neuro-typical infant begins by communicating nonverbally, going back and teaching this mode of communication for children who may have missed this step is the foundation for productive communication throughout life.

Teaching nonverbal communication should be done in a natural way that makes sense for each individual child. Telling a child, “look at my face,” or showing a child several pictures of people’s faces and having him/her identify the emotions he sees is not a natural way to work on nonverbal communication. Spending time doing activities with the child where the adult uses very little verbal communication, but is communicating through nonverbal channels, is an effective way to begin introducing nonverbal communication.

Playing games where you have changed the rules slightly so as to use only nonverbal communication can also be a fun and more natural way of working on nonverbal communication. For example, you might play Simon Says, using a made up signal for when Simon says to do something. Playing charades can also be a fun way to work on nonverbal communication in a natural context. Take a walk with your child; but instead of saying, “hey look at that dog,” you might pause, point and vocalize, “oh” with a rising inflection to draw attention.

There are many ways to work on nonverbal communication that can be explored and used to build this critical foundational piece of communication. I hope you enjoyed this three part series. Please contact me or visit our website if you would like to view the entire series as a single article.

References
Autism specialist Courtney Kowalczyk, of the Horizons Developmental Remediation Center, provides practical information and advice for families living with autism and other developmental disabilities. If you are ready to reduce your stress level, enrich your child’s development, aspergers children and improve your family’s quality of life, get your FREE reports now at ==> www.HorizonsDRC.com 
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