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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

Teaching body language and non-verbal communication skills -Moondog et al

(54 Posts)
inappropriatelyemployed Sun 10-Feb-13 08:59:30

Ay suggestions for good sources for introducing body language and non verbal communication skills?

moondog Sun 10-Feb-13 10:24:31

No, because all the manuals and guides (and there are scores) are far too general.Successful intervention would need someone on situ observing child's individual responses and body language to get an accurate baseline.

inappropriatelyemployed Sun 10-Feb-13 10:36:08

Thanks Moondog but I am trying to do this myself in the absence if any other identifiable source of help. I've twice tried to get an ABA therapist to look at these sort if issues but, as I've posted ad nauseam, this has been diverted into whether he should be allowed to sit on a chair when the class sit on the carpet once a week.

Any advice about working on small target areas I can identify myself would help.

TumbleWeeds Sun 10-Feb-13 10:42:10

Very interested by that one.
Moodog, any idea on how you can teach that sort of things then?

At home, I have tried to point to ds2 how ds1 is )and looks like) and pointing out to him he was upset/happy/teasing etc... so he can get an idea of what is what. PLus a lot about how tine of voice, your face says more than your words (eg repeating the same sentence in 2 different tones and explain how one actually says X when the other says Y).
But this is just working on gut feeling. A method would have been nice.

moondog Sun 10-Feb-13 10:47:50

I do teach this sort of thing a lot but I can't go into specific details here as it wouldn't be ethical. Even if I could, I'm not able to write the extended essay it would need to explain what we did and moreover a trip to IKEA beckons-having my bathrooms redone.

A lot of MNers ask me about this so we (fellow trainer and I) will be going into some detail about the interventions we carry out in these areas on our London training day.

TumbleWeeds Sun 10-Feb-13 10:56:50

moondog I have messaged you re your training.

moondog Sun 10-Feb-13 11:00:45

I've answered.
Look out for the red dot in your in box. smile

inappropriatelyemployed Sun 10-Feb-13 11:09:37

OK, as I can't go to your training session and I can't find an ABA therapist with the slightest clue about this, despite spending over £1000 on it, I will just have to do it myself and make it up as I go along.

moondog Sun 10-Feb-13 11:16:46

Alex Kelly is very highly regarded in s/lt circles ofr her work on social skills training with a wide variety of different client groups.

I haven't used her materials for a long time and she is not of course a behaviour analyst so if I did use it again, my first thought would be on ways to measure change.

She is a lovely person and has a great reputation.
Could be useful?!

inappropriatelyemployed Sun 10-Feb-13 11:53:50

Thanks. She is not too far away. I will have a look.

I just tire of involving so many different people and getting no furthest forward but when I do stuff myself, I make the greatest progress with him.

moondog Sun 10-Feb-13 12:08:26

Yes, I feel the same.
If I want things to change, I do it myself.
I recognise I am fortunate in doing this stuff for a living.
My advice to all parents is to limit the peopel involved with your child.
The more there are, the more pointless paper shuffling, meeting and generally telling everyone else what to do goes on.
If peope aren't doing stuff,stuff that is measurable I'm not interested in them.

PolterGoose Sun 10-Feb-13 12:36:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

inappropriatelyemployed Sun 10-Feb-13 12:39:53

Interesting. I suppose because animals can't speak, we have to watch what they do!

MareeyaDolores Sun 10-Feb-13 12:45:38

'Limit the people involved with your child'.

What all our dc really need is just one competent person with time to plan and take the lead, plus a willingness from others to follow that plan (or challenge it constructively when necessary)

Add in some genuinely expert advisors available to that 'lead', and some flexibility about how resources and school rules are applied

You could perhaps call the lead expert 'mum'. Or 'senco'. Or 'keyworker'. Or even 'statementing officer'... and give every child really good, effective, targeted SEN input for less than the current spend.

On the other hand, you could concentrate on keeping things as they've always been, labelling dc as 'naughty' or 'special', and blaming parents (if right-wing)/ society (if left-wing) for anything more complex.

You could call

MareeyaDolores Sun 10-Feb-13 12:47:41

blush Ghostbusters and get better social skills input than the make-it-up-as-you-go, keep-the-troublemakers-busy sessions some schools run.

MareeyaDolores Sun 10-Feb-13 12:50:11

Dogs and ASD research

oodlesofdoodles Sun 10-Feb-13 22:09:02

We worked on this recently with 'silent suppers'. Whatever DS wants he has to point for, then he has to look at us to see whether we have seen his point. Once he's glanced at us, he gets what he's asking for.
Anything that's offered (like a drink) we make quick eye contact, then turn and look at the jug. He has to pass his cup/plate to be poured water or gravy or whatever.
It also helps if the gestures are really exaggerated.
At first I wasn't giving him anything - getting him to point for his plate, then his cutlery, then food. As time has gone on we've 'renormalised' (is that a word?) dinner time.
I've not been keeping detailed aba type data, but this sort of thing has really helped expand the repertoire of gestures he can read.

Interesting about the dogs Mareeya. Dogs are one of the few animals that can follow gaze. This is another thing we have been teaching DS. So when he wants something, eg "mum where's my hat?" "I'm looking at it DS, my nose is pointing at it." Again, (I feel that) he's made big improvements on gaze following. The other day we were outside a shop and I made a point of looking at the door, DS followed my gaze and went to hold the door open for me with the buggy! (This doesn't happen every day mind)

It's a bit of a tome, but this is an interesting book that breaks down the component parts of non verbal communication:

moondog Mon 11-Feb-13 09:10:11

That's really interesting Oodles and a perfect example of how these skills can and should be worked on in real life. I don't like the common perception that they can only be addressed in clinics or by specialists or in workshops. (Actually, workshops are ok as long as you leave with a concrete action plan that you can implement straight away. I do about 40 different workshops/training sessions a year for parents and educational staff and with all this is my criteria).

You could take simple data on that actually. Wear a tally counter on your belt and click it every time he makes eye contact within a given period.
That would make a great school project actually.
<mind clunks into action>

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 11-Feb-13 10:06:07

'You could call Ghostbusters and get better social skills input than the make-it-up-as-you-go, keep-the-troublemakers-busy sessions some schools run.'


StarlightMcKenzie Mon 11-Feb-13 10:12:33

' I don't like the common perception that they can only be addressed in clinics or by specialists or in workshops.'

I just had a (competent) person to objectively assess the witching hour in our house (after school) and she's going to give some structured things for us to do, but the most profound thing she said was 'talk to your child'. lol

What she meant was involve him in the chores by making them fun and generally just keep him engaged in the social world instead of his own. Go back to the NT toddler years and have a giggle over daddy's smelly socks etc. Keep a language-rich environment and label things and comment on things without too many demands, unless and until I can see that ds is motivated enough to put up with one.

It's a tad embarassing to be told something like that, but on the otherhand she is right that it is cheap and effective, moreso than a clinic intervention to achieve the same.

inappropriatelyemployed Mon 11-Feb-13 10:15:00

Ahh Moonie, it is a very good idea but we don't have someone in school that could do that even with a full time TA. Our SLT is helpful and very open to new ideas but not ABA trained - hence my question about your course and bringing her.

This type of approach is very new to very many in the SEN industry and even to find an open mind is rare.

moosemama Mon 11-Feb-13 10:19:36

I find the animal/dog thing really interesting, because it's something that's come up with ds1 recently.

I used to be a dog trainer pre dcs and was really interesting in canine communication, body language etc. I often play with my dogs by emulating their body language as best I can - for a bi-ped. wink

Ds1 was watching me goading my lurcher to play by averting my eyes and play-bowing and was fascinated - mainly because the bonkers dog was having a complete mad one, charging around the room and play-bowing back - cue much hilarity from all three dcs.

Suddenly ds1 said "Why is he doing that Mum? What's making him do it." I explained that it was me that was making him do it and he said "But how? You aren't doing anything."

I explained to him that I was copying the dog's own body language and that if a dog wants another to play they avert their eyes, so that they don't seem threatening, then lower the front end of their body onto their elbows. Ds watched me for a few more minutes, then pointed out that I was sitting on the sofa and not lowering myself onto my elbows, so how did the dog know what I meant. I explained that all I had to do was avert my eyes, extend my hands, lower them and dip my head for our pup to understand what I meant - the movement was subtle, but clear enough. The more I wanted to wind the pup up, the bolder I had to make the body language. So I sat on the floor and bounced on my arms - at which point the loopy great lump of a dog completely lost the plot and jumped on my head. hmm grin

We then had a really good talk about why dogs need clear body language because they don't have much in the way of verbal communication skills and that people use both, verbal and non-verbal communication skills.

Ds is now noticing some non-verbal stuff, but pretty much always gets it's meaning wrong. So, say I am concentrating on something - he will ask why I am cross or if I am thinking/pondering about something - he will ask me why I am sad. However this is progress, having come from place where he didn't even seem to notice non-verbal signs.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 11-Feb-13 10:20:09

This is the inherent problem isn't it?

Parents spend all hours finding out what works for their kids. The success of which is dependent on the willingness of school staff a)acknowldging to themselves and the parent that the parent knows more and b)undertaking the necessary training.

Not in our education system......

inappropriatelyemployed Mon 11-Feb-13 10:32:55

DS stopped on his way into school and looked towards our receptionist and said 'good morning'. He then reported back to me how he thought she looked in response - startled and pleased!

He usually mumble morning , head down, not waiting or looking for a response.

Big praise all round and a very happy DS.

But this was working with me not the TA. Have a feeling it might all fall apart if we passed it over to her, even if she were willing. It would end up as 'DS look at people when you speak to them'. Cue DS shutting down and not wanting to do it ever again.

I'm already thinking of trying to go in for an hour a week to follow a basic Tony Attwood CBT course with him. He would just never do it with the TA and he has enough piled up at home.

It gets ridiculous but when a child is older and they want him in lessons being taught, it is hard for them to see the reason to factor some of this stuff in.

moondog Mon 11-Feb-13 10:46:00

' we don't have someone in school that could do that even with a full time TA'

Do what?
Press a tally counter?

This is the inherent insanity of pur present system. Oodles of money nad a cast of thousands but mysteriously people can't find the time to address the issues at hand. Starnge however that there is plenty of time to attend meeting after meeting after meeting and compile fat files of useless information.

This stuff isn't a big ask. The perfectly ordinary LSAs I work with knock off SAFMEDS, Numicon, Headsprout, Language for Thinking, social skills programmes, tally counts of all sorts, art, craft, PE, and plenty of time to realx in a day's work without breaking into a sweat or whinging or complainig.

When you talk about ABA to old timers they look perplexed and tell you it sounds like what they did (minus the cruel punishments that were a horrid part of education in times gone by). Yes! It's all pretty bloody obvious! I agree completely!

The main reason I allied myself with the ABA camp was that they were the only folk who did anything! The analogy I use os of the problem being a lake. Everyone else just kept on walking aronud it and commenting on it. The ABA lot waded straight in, right up to their necks. At last! Some action!

The naimal issues are very interesting too. Someone who is posting on this thread and I met on a TAGteach course which was full of animal trainers. Theri greatest advantage was that they used language very very carefully. I would gladly have worked with all of them in a class and I guarantee we would have seen great results. Another attendee (who also MNs I think!) is doing a PhD in equine therapy. Not the lets all whirl around in purple tye dye type therapy, but full on data driven stuff.

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