Gestural communication

Long before a child learns to speak, i.e. at least in the first 15 months, he communicates through

  • GEST: with the hands, fingers, show, give, hand, push away, ...
  • BODY LANGUAGE: it moves its foot to say, "Do it again," shrugs its shoulders, tilts its head, turns its body away from/ toward you, ...
  • EYE AND FACE EXPRESSION: Smiles, laughter, frowns, interested looks, surprised faces, ... and above all different
  • VOICE to convey a wide range of subtle feelings and emotions, such as sympathy/dislike, interest, fear, disgust, anger, frustration, sadness, greed, love, pain, admiration, jealousy, regret, generosity, ...

Gestural language is like the soil on which a tree grows

Non-verbal gestural speech is to language what soil is to the tree in which it grows. It accounts for more than 90% of communication: When people talk to each other, words account for less than 10% of their communication! Therefore, without a well-functioning gestural language, we are likely to end up with robotic language as in a computer, or as in some forms of echolalia or "scripting" by autistic children. So: Respond to the child's ENGLISH and 'don't say "SAY ..."'!

The gestures of the child are what he wants to say

  • A child's gestures and what it looks at are its language. In this way, it communicates to us what it means and has in mind.
  • He speaks to us through his gestures: you can see his intentions and ideas through his gestures.
  • Turn the child's gestures into words, that is, let him HEAR HIS gestures and ideas in YOUR words.
  • Sprinkle magical 'no talking dust' over your playful interactions using gestures, body language, facial expressions and tone of voice, ... !

More info on the topic?


Subscribe to my newsletter and receive my '10 key DIRFloortime playing techniques' in your email inbox for free.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

16 Key Strategies for DIRFloortime Play
FREE Download

I would like to receive your '16 Key Strategies for DIRFloortime Play' as a download and be added to your mailing list for occasional updates with relevant information. 


You have Successfully Subscribed!