VERVE Child Interaction
Using video gives every adult the opportunity to analyse their child’s communication abilities and places the child and parent at the heart of therapy. Having used it as the central philosophy of my role as a speech and language therapist over the last 20 years I believe that it is the most effective and enjoyable way to support all children.
Show the adult what they already do that works.
the skills of the people who know the child best.
the intuitive interactive abilities of the child and adult .
the partnership and encourage experimentation and exploration.
focus on the trigger that is the fulcrum for communication.
The process of VERVE Child Interaction
For four weeks the parent* is provided with a one hour session in which they are shown a taped 3 minute ‘birds eye view’ of their child interacting (playing) with them.
Each parent will be using all the necessary interaction skills (e.g. positioning, pausing, waiting for eye contact, naming, repeating, recasting, extending) but due to their child’s reduced signals will be finding the timing of the use of each difficult. By endorsing parental skill and picking one strategy in particular (e.g. silence and waiting for eye contact) and experimenting with it alone, the child is helped to focus. As the child masters a technique over time e.g. looking to the adult and making a sound whilst pointing e.g. ‘e’, so another parent strategy is added e.g. repeating the child’s sound and crafting it in to a word e.g. child ‘e’ adult nodding ‘up’.
By watching the video together week on week, the parent provides their perspective, their knowledge and insight and their understanding of their child and their child’s developing communication. They also specify the changes as evidenced on video and at home and provide ideas and adaptations that make the therapy meaningful to their family situation and specific to their child.
The parents witness their own expertise and influence. As the child escalates in their experimentation, exploration and initiation so the child and parent’s shared ‘vitality’ and confidence expands. With each successful interaction the child increasingly courts their parent in positive exchanges. Any negative attention seeking behaviours reduce. The child perceives their success, sees themselves as a ‘communicator’ and the synchrony of interaction is re-established.
By the adult waiting for the child to face watch and lip read the child is able to not only hear the words and sentences but also see exactly how they are made. They increasingly tune in to language.
*children with communication difficulties affect all adult’s interaction in the same way as they affect their parents.