All week I will be posting the amazing presentations given by true inspirations that create the tiniest of miracles everyday! These are amazing presentations by the Best there Is! Read them!
The first one I am sharing was presented by Nancy Russell LCSW. She is an amazing lady and inspiration!
Learning to Find our Children’s Language as it Relates to Behavior
Coaching 4 Kids LLC
Non Verbal Behavior/ Body Language
Interpreting what we do not hear: Most children on and off the spectrum as well as children with sensory processing disorder have a unique ability to “read” this type of language, many times it is processed differently though. I find that most children utilize these three types of groups to express their needs.
Group 1: The Mime; this group is overly gestural in the way they express emotion. You can read their expressions without having to hear the words. You know when they are angry or when they are happy/ or sad. You can see the expression their face and can interpret the meaning most times.
Children many times will look for the body movement versus the expression on the persons face. When they see someone with a ridged jerky body and sudden changes of behavior they might interpret this to be angry when in reality it could be fright. High levels of jumping and waving of the arms could be interpreted as anger when in reality it is excitement. Now add Sensory Defensiveness to the messages they are interpreting, and we find we have a child who is in hyper-alert.
Many times they may read the gestural movement correctly but cannot interpret what triggers these different responses. The fragments of noise, body positioning and environmental stimuli formulate a different thought process.
Group 2: The Babblers; This Group is the “confusers.” They use words with little gestural movement. They utilize the spoken word as their mode of communication. Most times you understand what their needs are or what they are expressing for we listen to the spoken word, look for facial expressions and then relate this to something we know and then we can ascertain what they are saying.
Children many times will not look at the speaker utilizing the reading of facial expressions, and do not understand the voice inflections they hear. They cannot interpret the words and relate them to past experiences.
Group 3: The Boundary Breakers; this group utilizes both gestural and voice inflection. A person who communicates in a combination of both many see as excellent communicators. We have the ability to read the body language, to interpret the meaning, and listen to the voice inflections in the words, process what they mean, and combined all three to understand the meaning of the topic.
Many children struggle to process the fragmented pieces of this type of communication. The three four and sometimes even five steps we need to process in understanding the speaker is over stimulating to the child and causes disruption in their ability to cope in certain situations.
How Does This Relate to Behavior
Group 1: The Mime; take a moment and think of a time that you were overly excited about something. What different types of movements were you making? Were you the jerky body and sudden change in behavior, or jumping up and down waving your hands? Can you envision how we do these in social context where the environment and things around us may influence our behaviors? Such as watching Funniest Home Videos and the person on TV falls down in some absurd way, a Football Game, telling a story at the dinner table, these are related in a social context for us.
For many children our modeling of these behaviors can be interpreted and used in showing how they are feeling, but with the social context piece missing we interpret their expressions as social inappropriate behavior.
An example could be a child falls down while riding the tricycle on the playground. Another child becomes excited Jumps up and down and begins to laugh. We view this as an inappropriate response to the social situation. But are they not just modeling what they had seen others do while watching a program such as Funniest Home Videos? The social context is the missing link.
Another could be the football game. We react by pointing waving our arms when our team did not score. A child could display this by waving their arms and pointing when they cannot do something they want. Is this defiance or their way of expressing their needs and emotions?
Group 2: The Babblers; take a moment and think of a time when you were trying to explain something to someone but you needed to not use gestures due to your surroundings, such as a restaurant or maybe your voice inflection is enough to express the context of your thoughts.
For many children our modeling of these behaviors is too complex for them to understand. We need to remember the route it takes for us to process the spoken word. They do not have these skills at this point and they appear to tune you out.
An example could be you are in the grocery store and your child wants a certain cereal. We talk to them in a low voice and tell them no. They revert and hear the word no and not reason behind it. They become “The Mime” and the behavioral outbursts begin.
Another example could be we try to explain something to them. It appears that they are “tuning us out” when in reality they do not have the attending skills needed to hear you.
Group 3: The Boundary Breaker; take a moment and think of a time when you watching a speaker or a TV show. Did you find that you were memorized by their movements, voice inflections, and words that they are using? We depend on different modes of understanding what is being portrayed. We have the ability to read the body language, to interpret the meaning, and listen to the voice inflections in the words, process what they mean, and combined all three to understand the meaning of the topic.
Sit back for a moment and think of a situation that a child on the spectrum might have encountered. What happened? Did they attempt to process the fragmented pieces of this type of communication? What were their reactions? We need to remember that the three, four, and sometimes even five steps needed to understand the speaker can be over stimulating to the child and causes disruption in their ability to cope in certain situations. They then utilize either the “Mime” or the “Babbler” to communicate to you what they are feeling.
What Can We Do?
- Be fully aware of our own body language communication style, and note that children will model this most times when trying to communicate with us.
- Be aware of how our body language can be viewed by the children, and ways they may interpret it.
- When the child is having a meltdown look at the context of the social situation and which style of communication the child is reacting too.
- Utilize this information and react to the social stimuli and not to the behavior.
- Remove them, allow them time to process the social stimuli, then reintroduce them into the situation again.
- Help the child by addressing the situation in a manner of communication you know will calm them.
- As the child matures help them address their modes of communication and utilize these to teach self regulation skills.
Presented by: Nancy Rae Russell LCSW
For further information or you would like to learn more about the study that we will be completing please contact me;