(The Art of Friendship)
BODY LANGUAGE – THE NON-VERBAL SUBTEXT TO OUR VERBAL COMMUNICATION
Successful friendships require several ingredients and one of the most important is communication, a combination of verbal and non-verbal messages. Unfortunately, children with diminished cognitive skills often have a difficult time perceiving and interpreting body language and that can result in awkward moments and boundary violations.
To make things better for these children, to make them more socially adept, Body Language is now an essential part of the Miracle League Community Skills and Vocational Rehab curriculum. It’s like teaching a second language with protocols that include power point illustrations, role play and lots of practice within the classroom, and then practice with age peer buddies outside the disability community.
EMPATHY – THE ABILITY TO SHARE SOMEONE ELSES FEELINGS
Once a child has a basic understanding of body language they can develop an exploratory/tentative form of synthetic empathy. It’s not quite all there yet; but, over time that synthetic empathy can become genuine empathy. It is another learned skill that adds so much to Self-Image and ability to Belong.