Communication
for Children with Deafblindness, or Visual and Multiple Impairments

Interaction & Bonding

image of video player with one woman sitting at a table and a caption below

Sara Kitchen Presents:

Introduction to Interaction and Bonding,
a video tutorial companion.

From the Web Series: Part 1 of 7

Maybe the most fundamental aspect of communication is based on a child’s bond with their caregiver.

The emotional attachments of young or developmentally young children are shown in their preferences for particular familiar people, their tendency to seek proximity to those people, especially in times of distress, and their ability to use the familiar adults as a secure base from which to explore the environment.

The formation of emotional attachments builds the foundation for later emotional and personality development. The type of behavior toddlers show toward familiar adults has some continuity with the social behaviors they will demonstrate later in life.

What makes good interactions possible?

Good interaction becomes possible when the instructor learns how to become child-centered. The instructor must keep in mind a variety of factors that may influence the child’s relationship with the world outside her/himself. Specific interaction strategies help us to avoid pitfalls that may sabotage our interactions with our students.

How can we develop these interactions?

We can use strategies that create communicative opportunities tailored to the child’s emotional development. The correct strategies will elicit and eventually shape the child’s communication.

teacher and student with blue colored tongues

A teacher and her student pose for the camera after tasting the icing that they made for cupcakes.

Another piece of the puzzle:

Our students must be able to encounter objects in contexts that make sense to them. This begins with independent exploration of a world that is brought within reach. Active Learning, a system created by Dr. Lilli Nielsen for students with visual and additional impairments, is a comprehensive approach to this aspect of our students’ learning.

Shifting the Child’s Focus: Interaction Strategies

Our students may be withdrawn. We need to find a way into their world, and from there, we can begin to bring them out into our world. Use the following strategies to communicate the following concepts:

  • Strategies for building security teach the child that it is safe to be here in the world.
  • Imitation strategies teach the child that you see them doing things and think they’re fine things to do. They validate the child as someone who exists apart from their environment and also create the beginnings of interest in the actions of another person. This starts out something like parallel play with a goal of attaining a non-visual form of joint attention.
  • Turn-taking strategies reinforce that you see the child doing things, and that you might do something similar and interesting, too. They further encourage the child to reach out and take interest in the actions of another person. Our students must be interested in the actions of other people if they are to learn from them. Also, turn-taking is an early conversational skill. Any of these types of interactions might be referred to as conversations.