Express Yourself!

The Roots of comprehension, emotion and intention in social emotional development and well being


 Marilee Burgerson, CCC-SLP, San Marcos, California


This presentation will focus upon the integration of critical elements of communication into the DIR® model. Communication depends upon regulation, the capacity to understand internal and external sensations, the motor system and how we feel. Our ability to express our intention rises from these important roots and grows within the context of the first relationship. The interpersonal synchrony that is expressed through our bodies, voices, movements and feelings creates the optimal state for reciprocal and meaningful connections. This developmental dance unfolds as motor movements are exchanged, a dialogue of emotions begins and meanings are shared. It is in the context of these shared meanings that the contents of the mind are revealed and ideas and intentions emerge. Often professionals jump too quickly to talking and using words without a full appreciation of all of the moving parts that generate the first word. It is well known that 50- 70% of communication is nonverbal, so it makes sense that our focus would be on understanding and supporting this early synchrony in our floortime sessions. This presentation will take participants through this process of understanding communication roots and apply it specifically to the strategy of following the child’s lead, developing an affective flow and initiative as shared meanings are revealed. It will also address clinical judgement in making decisions related to wooing, structure and following the child’s intention to support the development of this crucial rhythm and listen with our eyes, hearts and minds.

Learning Objectives: By the end of this presentation participants will be able to

  • Explain the foundations of communication
  • Describe communication in the context of the DIR Model