The child’s gestures are his meaning

Gestural communication

Long before a child learns to speak, i.e. for at least his first 15 months, he communicates by

  • GESTURE: using his hands, fingers, pointing, giving, reaching, pushing away, …
  • BODY LANGUAGE: moving his foot to say ‘do it again’, shrugging his shoulder, tilting his head, turning his body away/ towards you, …
  • EYE and FACIAL expressions: smiles, laughter, frowns, focusing with interest, surprise faces, … and most importantly different
  • TONES OF VOICE to communicate a wide range of subtle feelings and emotions including like/dislike, interest, fear, disgust, anger, frustration, sadness, greediness, love, hurt, admiration, jealousy, regret, generosity, …

Gestural language is like soil for the tree to grow

Gestural non-verbal language is in fact for speech what soil is for the tree to grown in, making up more than 90% of communication: when people are talking to each other, words make up less than 10% of their communication! Without well functioning gestural language we are therefore likely to end up with robotic speech like a computer, or as in some forms of echolalia or ‘scripting’ from autistic children. So: respond to your child’s GESTURAL LANGUAGE and don’t say ‘SAY …’!’

The child’s gestures are his meaning

  • A child’s gestures and what he is looking at are his language. That’s how he is telling you what is in his mind.
  • He is talking to you in gestures: you can see his intention and ideas through his gestures.
  • Turn the child’s gestures into words, i.e. let him hear HIS gestures and ideas spoken in YOUR words.
  • Sprinkle ‘no talking dust’ on your playful interactions with gesture, body, facial expressions and tone of voice….

A warm welcome from Sibylle Janert.

I look forward to discussing your concerns.

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