The Power of Gestures—Communication (Part 1)
Fist bump? Shake hands? Big hugs? Hang-loose wave?
Families have greetings. Fraternities have handshakes. Teams have hand signals.
These are all versions of gestures– a powerful way to quickly communicate so much meaning in a short interaction. There are big gestures used to direct traffic and airplanes. There are little secretive gestures used to convey affections. There are colorful gestures to convey emotion and frustration. Gestures are all around us!
But what if your motor skills don’t allow you to gesture accurately or easily? Turns out your communication skills don’t quite match the others’ perceptions either.
We find that there is sometimes an overlooked aspect to these frustrations—the motor skills just don’t work. The inside emotions and thoughts don’t match the external body language and gestures because the movements haven’t developed yet.
When do gestures develop? The foundation for development of gestures happens in several phases of infancy.
Why would these skills not develop? We find a myriad of reasons for the skills to be skipped.
But those were years ago! Even though these traumas may have happened years ago, the body is still affected. The body is amazing and seems to figure out work-arounds making the underlying gap hard to observe without specific assessment. We find all ages can have stress or dysfunction in the ease of gestures and it often tracks back to this early period of life.
The body’s compensatory strategies allow you to move forward, but not at peak performance. Here’s how the subpar performance impacts function by age.
For those who are interested in learning more about the link between gestures and learning, read some fascinating research here. Gesture as a window onto communicative abilities: Implications for diagnosis and intervention<www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4564136/>
Next up One way we help our clients get back on track and eliminate challenges is to restore foundational movement transitions supporting gesturing. In my next post, we’ll look at how we assess and identify the root cause of the gesture challenges.