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Helping the Child Who Doesn't Fit In.

The authors authoritatively discuss the understanding of nonverbal communication as an unspoken language. Children who do not know how to speak or interpret this language develop social and interpersonal problems. Six channels of nonverbal communication exist: 1) rhythm and use of time, 2) interpersonal distance (space) and touch, 3) gestures and posture, 4) facial expressions, 5) paralinguistics (how we sound in voice, tone, pitch) and 6) objectics (style of dress, odor, physical presence).

The simple, easy-to-understand style ensures that the book can be appreciated and used by all who work with children. Nowicki and Duke, in spite of their impressive teaching and consulting credentials in clinical psychology, use no jargon and are concise and informative.

The book describes each of the channels of nonverbal communication, using specific examples to show the "difficulty in using and understanding nonverbal signs and signals." Following each section, the authors offer some practical tips for overcoming the problems and increasing the child's skill. One of the practical tips for facial expression is a game called "Face Charades," where only the face may be used to describe an emotion. The teacher (or leader) writes down various emotions on small cards. A child selects one card and uses just the face to act it out to a friend (or group) who must guess the emotion.

The last section discusses assessment and formal remediation. The authors provide their own assessment instrument, called Diagnostic Analysis of Nonverbal Accuracy (DANTA), to use in cases where an informal observation may not be enough. I caution readers that this last section should be read for information, but that untrained parents and teachers should not try to diagnose a child with serious problems. The informal diagnosis and informal remediation tips mentioned earlier are appropriate, but more formal processes should be handled by professionals. The references and resources at the end of the book provide some suggestions for further help.

Reviewed by Ann D. Hazard, Instructor, Early Childhood Education, Delaware County Community College, Media, PA
COPYRIGHT 1993 Association for Childhood Education International
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Hazard, Ann D.
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 22, 1993
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