People’s actions always express something. There are many ways to communicate a message. We all use our behavior to communicate. Have you ever been angry and slammed a door? Been excited and jumped up and down? What about when you get frustrated. What do you do?
When people can’t talk, they are often frustrated. All behavior communicates.
Here are different ways that a person could say, “I want to stop”.
- Verbal words “I want to stop.”
- Throwing body on the floor and kicking
- Gesturing “STOP” (as a police officer does when directing traffic)
- Sitting down and crossing arms
- Yelling loudly while pushing away nearby people or items
- Walking out of the room
- Pressing a button on a device that plays a recorded “I want to stop” message
- Using American Sign Language to sign “all done” or “I want to stop”
- Crying and hitting self in head with the palm of a hand
Some of the above means of expression are acceptable in our culture. We think of some of these as bad or “inappropriate” behavior. But ALL are sending the message “I want to stop.”
What are some ways that a person could say “keep doing that” when you are tickling his or her arm?
- With speech – “do it some more!”
- With body movements – pulling or grabbing your hand to continue
- With gestures – pumping upward facing fist in a “gimme” gesture
- With sounds – laughing and smiling while you are tickling
- With movement – walking up to you and putting his arm out
- With a device- Pressing a button that plays a recorded “I want more” message
- With American Sign Language- sign “again” or “more”
I can remember the frustration of not being able to talk. I knew what I wanted to say, but I could not get the words out, so I would just scream.
Careful attention to communication reveals that behaviors that on the surface appear to be random, maladaptive, or challenging, are purposeful…
To communicate is like breathing air in and out. It is impossible not to do. It is the heartbeat of our own existence! It is the cornerstone upon which everything is built.