Imagine there is no one in the world with whom you can communicate. All your attempts to reach out and make sense in the world are thwarted because there is no one who understands your language. This is a normal event in child development. Yet the child with disabilities has less adaptive skills than other children her age. Attempts are more frustrating. To make matters worse, the whole circle of communication between adult and child becomes thwarted as parents and therapists, instead of reading nonverbal cues accurately, misjudge them and send the whole communication circle spiraling downward. The character, the pacing, the whole theatre of our play and movement with young children is extremely important. As we believe children must learn to speak, we adults, parents and therapists, must learn to play. It’s not that adults are not well meaning. Very many are. It’s just that most adults have no idea "how to be" in the child’s preverbal world. It is to this preverbal task that ChildDance is addressed. It describes one therapist’s encounter with six different children with special needs, how child development theory and practice is woven together to form a fabric for preverbal communication.
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