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The Ways of Conversation. . .

Conversations don’t just sit there!

Perhaps as you are reading this, you are resting and recuperating from a long stretch of hard work. Maybe you are in a new locale (or a favorite familiar one,) shopping for and eating food that’s different from your usual, walking around in places that amaze you, having new experiences and adventures with those you love. Or maybe that’s next week or a dream for the future. In any case, for a minute, take a pause and consider….conversation.

A short blog this month, but on a topic worth keeping in mind and considering as we move through the summer months…the many and varied ways of conversations.

Conversations take place in lots of different contexts and with a wide variety of intentions and groupings. But conversations aren’t just about sitting together. We have conversations while our bodies are doing all sorts of things – leaning, walking, running, standing, lounging by the pool, exercising, cooking, trying on shoes, lining up, playing games (darts, anyone?) The possibilities are endless!

Our bodies are often in motion or in various planes, as are the bodies of those with whom we are engaging. Acting on objects. Rotating and bending. Moving through space or being immobile in space. Together with others. Like a dance.

How does this apply to working with students on conversation? Well, don’t just sit with your students! Have students practice talking together while standing, walking, leaning (for when they are next to lockers, or a handy stone wall…), and more. When I started diversifying what students did with their bodies during conversations, I found lots of preferences as well as challenges. What makes it easier for a student to connect? Or more challenging? Students who feel more comfortable having conversations without a lot of eye contact really appreciated talking while doing a puzzle together. Some students were unsure what to do with their hands when they were standing – hands in pockets or out? Some felt really comfortable conversing while walking – they liked the rhythmic motor cadence. Others drifted apart, not used to walking together with another. Fascinating aspects of conversation to think about, talk about, and explore!

If you are looking for summer reading to challenge and enrich your thinking, much of my clinical framework evolved from Daniel Stern’s work. Specifically, I learned so much from The Interpersonal World of the Infant: A view from psychoanalysis and developmental psychology (1985) and The First Relationship: Infant and Mother (1977.) Writing this blog reminded me of his chapter, Mis-steps in the Dance… check them out!

You’ll hear from me a bit less over the next few months – time to enjoy some downtime with family and friends, garden, play music, travel, and think. Wherever your plans take you, stay safe and enjoy!

“Hello Anna, I am a student support officer at a primary school in Adelaide, Australia. I work with children on the Autism spectrum predominantly and found your book, YouCue Feelings, in our Teacher Resources library at school. I want to implement it with my students but hope you can help me with something. The two web addresses for Appendix A don't work. Could you please email me this information? I would be most grateful. Thank you in advance. Kind regards, Wendy C.”

Thanks so much for contacting me. Yes, the web links have changed. I have registered your purchase, which will allow you to get all the updates. The new links are in Update #1. Happy Viewing!

Note to those of you who have purchased YouCue Feelings. PLEASE register your purchase so you can receive the free updates - including the new link for the spreadsheets of Appendix A. Registering is easy!!

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