Thursday, February 23, 2012

Non-verbal communication

Generally speaking, females talk more than males. We lecture our children and over explain our positions. It isn't easy being a kid and it isn't easy being the adult in charge of a a kid.

Some kids who are on the autism spectrum do not have a grasp of non-verbal communication. If an adult puts a finger to the lips, most children understand that communicates, Shhh, be quiet. But not everyone gets it.

I try to use non-verbal as much as possible in the classroom. I gesture, raise an eyebrow or use few words. I have a new boy with limited English and an abundance of energy. As he learns the rules of the different classrooms he visits, I hear others trying to 'deal' with him. Over talking is confusing in our own language. Kids process the last three to four words of a sentence. So if you say, "It is not nice to throw blocks at Johnny." The child processes, THROW BLOCKS AT JOHNNY.

When he is in my classroom, I call this child's name and then use a hand gesture, for stop, or no, etc. It works in most cases.


Let me share an incident that happened with my cousin when she was a young teen. She was crossing a street and a police officer in his car was at the stop sign. He motioned to her with his finger. She said her heart started pounding. He motioned again. She walked over to the passenger door and opened the car and got in.

"What are you doing?"

"You just motioned for me to get in, didn't you?"

"No, I was motioning you to cross the street."

BE CAREFUL, don't get your signals crossed. By no means am I implying that my cousin is on the spectrum; she was a young girl who misinterpreted.

Be concise in writing. Readers who have to process all the way down a meandering path, no matter how pretty, may skip instead of stroll. They may not even make it to the end.

9 comments:

Bookie said...

Good one today, Linda, from start to finish.

Lynn said...

Valuable info, thanks!

Janet Smart said...

Right on. Except in my house the male talks more than the female. My husband can make a story last forever and a one minute telephone conversation last 30 minutes. And when he hangs up he and the stranger on the line know everything about each other.

Sioux said...

The last lines are especially helpful, Linda.

(And by the way, I know a person who gave up something particular for Lent. Perhaps they could use hand signals instead?;)

DUTA said...

Nonverbal communication , that's a very interesting topic. It is the most natural form of communication (body language, facial expressions, gestures, eye contact), and yet it can go wrong sending confusing messages.

Tammy said...

LOL, Sioux. Very interesting post, Linda. I didn't know that about kids processing only a few words in a sentence. When they're teenagers, do they process fewer?!

K9friend said...

So true. Too often we become wrapped up in the beauty of our own words!

Pat
Critter Alley

Susan said...

Hi Linda...So glad you are a teacher of young children.

Imagine children with limited English being in a classroom where the teacher doesn't realize how hard it must be for them! Devastating for the little ones.

Take care and Linda, thanks for all your faithful visits and comments on my blog. Love having you visit. Susan

Chatty Crone said...

I think you are a great teacher too Linda. Very kind and sincere. sandie