Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Some Things are Harder to Elicit Than You Would Imagine

We have been working on gestures and facial expressions for months now. Sometimes, I feel like I can't be vocal at all. Our RDI assignment, though, is not only to use our bodies and faces to converse with Alan, but to somehow get him to gesture and use facial expressions to communicate. This latter part is not going well. Don and I have increased our non-verbal communication with Alan a lot. Alan does understand us, but it is similar to the experience his Spanish teacher is having.

The teacher will say something en espanol, and instead of answering en espanol, Alan, known in Spanish class as Fernando, answers in English. Patiently, she asks him, say it in Spanish. He does. The very next time, he answers again in English. He doesn't get how important it is to answer in Spanish in Spanish class.

What is happening is, we gesture and change our expressions. Alan answers us with his voice. I never, ever thought I would want our son not to speak. Getting him to speak was such a long, long process. However, he must learn to use the other important parts of communication which come from body posture, facial expressions and gestures. I think I am going to resort to telling him we are having a period without words so he has to mime to get what he wants. We'll see how that goes.



Blogger The Glasers said...

I never thought of it until this post but understanding and using body language is like learning a second language for our kids. Just yesterday, a brand-spanking-new SLP that is a friend of my sister's emailed me and one of the things I told her was not to neglect nonverbals . . . LOL! Imagine telling a SPEECH Language Pathologist that! :-)

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