Nonverbal Communication is a HUGE area of difficulty for my high school students who have high-functioning Autism/Aspergers.
This unit was created by fading visual cues/supports throughout the lessons to promote independent mastery of recognizing non-verbal communication and understanding how to respond and how they come across to others.
Think With You Eyes – Key Phrase used throughout the lesson (term developed from Social Thinking) to help remind my students of all the components of nonverbal communication.
Facial Expressions – These are the movements of the face that convey emotion. The students were required to identify facial movements to understand the meanings of expressions on a person’s face.
Activities we used to practice identifying facial expressions
The visuals on the side were used a visual reminder to all the areas the students need to look at in order to fully understand the emotion.
Gestures – Specific movements of the hands, arms, legs, and feet that convey a particular message.
Activities we used to practice identifying gestures
Eye Contact – Eye contact is an important part of communication. This is the use of the eyes to follow the face of another person to establish and maintain communicative contact. This includes:
* Looking in the direction of a person’s face (which is different than “staring into their eyes.”
* While looking at them, you should be “reading their face” and interpreting the meaning of the expression.
*Once interpreted, a response should be formulated that relates to the the look on their face and the words they said.
Proximity (or Personal Space) – This is how close or how far you are from a person. There is generally a “one arm rule” meaning you are supposed to be at least one arm length away from the other person to feel comfortable. Some relationships (people who you are familiar with such as family and significant others) allows for people to feel comfortable being closer than a arm’s length away.
Appropriate & Inappropriate Proximity:
Body Language – This is how your body looks to the speaker. Your body communicates your thoughts and feelings through physical behaviors (facial expressions, body posture, gestures, eye movement, and proximity.)
Activities we used to practice identifying body language to interpret situations:
Once the students were able to grasp these skills, I incorporate YouTube videos of commercial clips to practice realistic situations where the students had to interpret their body language.