It may not be possible to play a game with the young person in your care. They may reject the idea as childish. They may have been so hurt in relationships that the closeness that is a by-product of playing a game together may be overwhelming for them. In these circumstances, especially, but in all circumstances, their needs to be another way that builds connection. By building connection a foundation is laid to support language development and the motivation to use it.
Connection occurs when young people feel heard and understood in relation to their experience and needs. Connection builds trust. Connections supports feelings of worth and value being placed on relationships with caregiving adults. Connection supports the young person regulating their behaviour in consideration of their self-worth and the value of being on good terms with others. Connection regulates.
Connection is built through the young person feeling heard and understood. This is best achieved through access to their inner world. Where verbal expression is limited, behaviour becomes the most important source of access to the young person’s inner world. In these circumstances, behaviour is communication.
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