“Jaw jaw – not war war” a wonderfully positive statement famously muttered by Winston Churchill in 1954. In these uncertain times it must always be a credible option to communicate with one another.
But what does this communication look like in 2016?
Unfortunately I feel the way many communicate today is through a virtual world. So for a start we need to get our faces away from a screen. When was the last time you left the house without your smart phone? Can you remember sitting outside and taking in the view with your eyes rather than your camera? We have become slaves to the microchip. Although to have the option of Google at our fingertips can be extremely useful – is it absolutely vital to have the answer immediately to “how many times has Meryl Streep been nominated for an Oscar?”. How many times have you witnessed a couple or even whole groups of people on their phones when they are out socially. Do we really need to check Facebook for where other people are spending their weekend – when we could be actually in real life talking to the people we are with.I don’t think I’m being an old, grumpy grouch but really! Stop looking at the screen, head up, and engage with one another. Instagram updates can wait.
Have we lost the ability to actually talk to one another? I hope not. Talking is a skill which comes easily to a lot of people and we tend to take it for granted. Yet is is a struggle for many, particularly our special children who have speech and language difficulties. For these children the concept of eye contact, social cues, reading emotions and turn-taking are skills that have to be specifically taught. We know that communication difficulties leads to frustrations and then behaviour problems.
To communicate a choice, a desire or a need is crucial to a satisfactory every day existence. It is a basic human requisite. To support and help our special children we use a variety of techniques and resources to promote great communication. These include low-tech communication books, visuals, Makaton signing and the clever use of technology. There are now some great devices on the market to develop and nurture communication including Go Talk and sound buttons. I get a lot of my equipment from Inclusive Technology who have a great support desk and are always really helpful.
I came across this beautiful clip and I asked the mum if she wouldn’t mind me sharing it. It only last 14 secs so please watch. The little boy is 4 years old and up until he was 3 was non-verbal. Watch how he now has the use of language and is able to communicate with his little sister….
How gorgeous. He has learnt to offer, wait his turn and respond. All from a little lad that was previously without language.
So what is my point to this blog?
We need to celebrate the art of communication and principally the art of talking to one another. A text just doesn’t cut it to build up strong, real relationships.
We need to put down our phones for a while and smell the roses and notice what is going on around us in the real world.
In the street, in the shops, in our places of work – let’s stop and talk. “Good morning” is a start.
We need to support our children by modelling good practice. The little chap in the video learnt through patient support from his parents and professionals. Don’t squander what we take for granted.
Do it now. Go and have proper, real face to face conversation. Bet you’ll find it refreshing.
(By the way Meryl has been nominated 19 times – knew you’d want to know…)
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