Take a moment to think about how many ways you communicate “no” without using words. I can do it in at least three ways, just using one hand!
It is widely accepted now, far beyond only behavioural analytic circles, that behaviour is a form of communication.
Picture a woman sitting alone at a restaurant. She keeps eyeing her watch, she furrows her brow, she might let out a frustrated sigh before she slugs back her second glass of wine, while tapping her feet under the table. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this woman is waiting on her dinner companion and is not too happy about it.
Our peers and kids who do not have strong verbal skills, communicate to us just as clearly with their non verbal behaviours.
As part of our work, we are always searching for ways to aid communication. We do this to increase social functioning, to boost self esteem and aid personal empowerment.
We do this to decrease frustration, prevent potential consequential challenging behaviours and frankly to prevent harm occurring.
While we work to build these skills however, let’s not forget to look at what is being communicated already, through facial expressions, through gestures, through scripting and the other myriad of ways our friends and children may be “talking” with behaviour.
And spare a thought for our tardy dinner companion. I would like to see him get out of that situation without using words.