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Dr. Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Multi-Modal Communication . . . It's Everywhere!

 Where and Why.  The idea for this post came from the pool.  

That's right, the pool!  I've been taking Aqua Zumba and Aqua Exercise classes.

Pools are LOUD!  And the music is LOUD!  The instructors can't rely on their voices to give instructions.

The more effective instructors are masters of multi-modal communication.  

How Do They Do That?  They use many components, including: 

Broad Gestures.  They point to a body part that will be involved in the next activity, such as slapping their right thigh two times to indicate: "Use your right leg."  They tap their abdomen, to indicate:  'Use deep breathing.'

Smaller Gestures.  Effective instructors also use smaller gestures, such as holding up 3 fingers, then 2, then one to count down to the start of the next exercise.  They also point to the specific muscle we are targeting.  

Facial Expressions.  They show their enthusiasm for the group with huge smiles, encouraging the participants to try harder.  They also use a head tilt along with the expression 'seriously?' if we aren't participating fully.

Vocalizations.  Many instructors weave vocalizations such as 'Woo!' or "Ole' into their routines to keep swimmers engaged and involved.  

All of these non-verbal supports are both effective and efficient.  Watching them made me realize that we need to do a better job helping individuals who use AAC develop their own multi-modal communication skills.  

Let's do this!!

So . . . There's a Tip for This!


Tip # 10, 2022

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