Tips To Educate Entire Frame Listening: It’s A Tool No Longer A Rule

Adapted from an article through: Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP

PhrCusCustom Poster tom Poster ases like “pay interest” and “concentrate carefully” ring out in classrooms across the us of a. Moms, dads, and other caregivers can be heard saying some model of these equal words to youngsters anywhere. Paying attention and taking note of others aren’t handiest considered crucial for social communique, however also for gaining knowledge of to be a part of a set and for instructional achievement. In fact, these talents are honestly outlined within the Common Core Learning Standards that teachers use to grade Custom Poster their college students.

Although we can without problems agree that the potential to concentrate is vital, listening involves extra than “listening to” with our ears. So how is that this multi-layered skill pleasant taught? To make listening more concrete and teachable, speech pathologist Susanne Poulette Truesdale (1990) got here up with a powerful, and now very popular, idea referred to as “whole body listening.”  This revolutionary device breaks down the summary idea of listening by explaining how each body part other than the ears is concerned: the brain considering what is being said; the eyes searching at or towards the speaker; the mouth quiet; the frame dealing with closer to the speaker; and the palms and ft quiet and saved to oneself. In a extra recent article (2013) Truesdale stresses that the most critical a part of whole body listening takes location within the brain. She states that “when we’re asking someone to think about what we’re pronouncing, we’re in essence asking for the listener’s mind to be related and tuned-in.”

Over time, different specialists have elevated the initial entire frame listening idea to encompass the heart as a way to inspire empathy and attitude taking. This later addition is beneficial whilst working on social interactions and relationships wherein the purpose of listening isn’t simply to “listen” and interpret what’s being stated, but additionally to illustrate shared involvement to make a high quality impression. This multiplied idea of whole frame listening is woven into parts of Michelle Garcia Winner’s large Social Thinking® methodology to teach the basics of ways and why we concentrate to discern out the “predicted” behavior when round others. Similar to different Social Thinking Vocabulary that breaks down the social code, complete body listening has grow to be a foundational idea to help make this and different abstract ideas greater concrete and less complicated to apprehend, educate, and practice.

Truesdale emphasizes that whole body listening is “a device, not a rule,” meaning that adults want to assume flexibly about how satisfactory to apply it. There isn’t any “one manner” to train the complete body listening idea. The intention is to create effective strategies for people with a lot of gaining knowledge of patterns. And most significantly, to try this in approaches that appreciate all of us’s particular needs and capabilities.

Kids Do Well If They Can

Custom Poster When youngsters struggle to meet school room requirements related to listening and following directions, they may be misunderstood or possibly classified as “behavioral problems.” According to their age/level of improvement, we count on youngsters to learn how to attention, concentrate, and observe guidelines intuitively, the usage of the “integrated” social regulation feel we assume all kids possess. However, a few youngsters don’t intuitively gather the social talents and self-law that we normally companion with listening. To guide these kids, mother and father and teachers want to take a step lower back and view the situation thru a exclusive lens.

Dr. Ross Greene, a psychologist and professional in working with youngsters who have difficult behaviors, indicates that we ask ourselves,  “Does the kid have the abilties needed to perform the venture?” He states it flawlessly: “Kids do well if they are able to.” Greene believes that it’s far our process to figure out in which areas our youngsters need aid, understanding and/or motels a good way to do nicely. To provide an explanation for listening in a manner that makes experience, a host of social cognitive and sensory processing abilities may first need to be concretely taught. And in some cases, kids with social mastering, sensory processing, interest, or different law challenges may not be capable of perform tasks typically related to listening, together with preserving one’s body still, making eye touch, or staying quiet.

What’s So Hard About Listening?

When we spark off children to “get out your math book,” do you get an photograph on your thoughts of what that seems like? How about “take a seat down”? These requests are concrete and simple to define and photograph. But phrases like “concentrate” or “pay attention” are extra summary and tough to outline. What does this request truely mean? How does it look in diverse conditions and contexts? And why even care approximately listening? They are open for interpretation primarily based at the character asking and the context or situation. For instance: listening throughout tale time is special than listening on the playground or at some point of a conversation. When a request leaves room for interpretation, the character being requested wishes to be privy to and recollect both the person making the request and the social regulations inside that context. This calls for sturdy social attention, social recognition, and social perspective taking.

In addition, whilst met with a request to “concentrate” some adults anticipate children to now not simplest listen with their ears, but to stop whatever they may be doing and demonstrate that they’re listening with their complete frame. This grownup-defined expectation may also encompass standing completely nevertheless, similar to a soldier at attention. This is not best difficult for maximum children, however not possible for a few. Listening along with your complete frame involves integrating all of the body senses (sensory processing), and combining that with executive functioning (strength of will of mind and frame), and attitude taking (deliberating others and what they may be pronouncing). This is not an easy project and it’s extraordinarily vital to be aware of the processing complexity concerned. Many children do now not absolutely recognize what’s expected of them or won’t be able to meet the anticipated needs in relation to listening.

Tips from Whole Body Listening Larry

Many mother and father, teachers, and other professionals helping kids respect the manner that those guiding specialists have helped ruin down the summary idea of listening into more viable, concrete movements.  Kristen Wilson, a former therapist at my middle, Communication Works (CW) inside the San Francisco Bay Area, created a story and instructions on complete body listening the use of a individual named Whole Body Listening Larry and examples of ways he struggled with paying attention. After Larry found out what become predicted of him and every part of his frame, he found listening much easier. He wanted to help others by using sharing what he had learned.

The clients at our middle should relate to Larry’s struggles. They favored how the tale helped them examine and do not forget how to reveal that they were listening. Larry’s tale additionally reminded kids to recommend for themselves after they have been not able to attention or attend with their whole body. Kristen Wilson and I noticed that Larry become an powerful coaching tool and collectively co-authored the books Whole Body Listening Larry at Home and Whole Body Listening Larry at School (2011), which were posted by Social Thinking Publishing. The books have given kids a deeper understanding of what to do in numerous situations wherein they must self-adjust and listen, and instructors and dad and mom have appreciated a way to speak about this idea and educate it.

A Tool, Not a Rule!

As with different equipment and curricula, the talents and developmental stage of each person ought to be taken into consideration earlier than implementing whole frame listening. Some of the talents used in entire body listening, which includes maintaining eye contact, staying nonetheless, or remaining quiet are extremely difficult and may motive stress or surely not be viable for positive people. When that is the case it’s vital that adults demonstrate awareness and understanding. Parents, teachers, therapists, and employers have to make adjustments and help people recommend for themselves in loads of social, instructional, and paintings-related conditions.

Given the recognition of the Larry books, posters, and instructions, it’s far critical for adults to make sure that the cloth is appropriate for every body to whom it’s far supplied. Teachers, mother and father, or other adults should not “enforce” this concept or any other on a person if it’s going to reason anxiety, distress, or disgrace. When a baby or grownup is fascinated and able to learning how to listen along with his/her whole frame it can be beneficial to explore strategies and inns with the support crew.

Whole Body Listening Strategies

To aid in teaching whole frame listening, a few standard strategies and lodges comply with, developed by myself and Leah Kuypers OT/R, some other former therapist from CW and creator of the famous curriculum, The Zones of Regulation®. Each man or woman is one-of-a-kind and ought to be assessed for person wishes and assist. Also included is statistics to build attention for variations that can occur, mainly for those with sensory processing demanding situations. In those incidences amendment and differential coaching ought to be carried out. The following visual presents a brief reference:

 Graphic © Kupyers & Sautter 2012

Ears: Limit auditory distractions. Explore using an amplifier (e.g., frequency modulation (FM) machine) or noise blocking off headphones if the child is easily distracted by way of heritage noise.

Be aware: People who are tough of hearing or deaf can listen via ASL interpretation, lip reading, gestures, and written phrases or pictures.

Eyes: Look towards the speaker, maybe now not directly however checking in for facial expressions to “study” feelings and others’ intentions. Limit distractions and visible litter.

Be aware: Direct eye touch may be overwhelming, intimidating, or tough (even painful) for some. Persons can listen what is being said even though they may be now not searching directly on the speaker.

Mouth: Practice impulse Custom Poster control by using pausing and wondering before talking (brain filter out). Chewing gum or crunchy food can provide sensory input that enables modify one’s gadget. Drinking water, specially thru a straw, can be helpful.

Be conscious: Some people need to make verbal sounds to assist them system what’s being said and stay calm.

Hands:  Use a fidget or doodle. Squeeze arms collectively. Sit on arms or placed them in pockets.

Be conscious: Some human beings circulate or flap their Custom Poster fingers as a way to alter themselves and might nonetheless pay attention/hear while shifting their hands.

Feet: Tie a Thera-Band or deflated bicycle tubes around legs of a chair as a place to relaxation the feet and/or use as a fidget for restless ft. Explore right seating for posture and luxury. Cross or sit down on ft to help preserve them still.

Be mindful: Some people need to move their body to live regulated, attend, and sense snug. If they’re transferring, they are able to nonetheless pay attention and can be capable of examine higher.

Body:  Explore sensory strategies and physical games (e.g., chair push-ups, deep breathing, and so on). Consult an occupational therapist to explore adaptive seating alternatives and use of a weighted lap pad.

Be mindful: Some humans want to move their body to stay regulated, attend, and feel comfortable. If they may be shifting, they could nonetheless concentrate and can be capable of research higher.

Heart: When children are developmentally and cognitively equipped, assist them reflect onconsideration on why we pay attention to others. This includes developing rapport, a shared experience, and thinking about the feelings of the speaker and others and the way their listening conduct may affect the mind of others. Practice constructing attitude taking and considering others versus themselves and their own interests in the course of social interactions and communication while looking to stay part of a group and/or make an awesome affect. Practice using supportive and pleasant comments and the use of the Social Fake (a Social Thinking method of acting interested even in case you’re not) while needed. Also, assist kids apprehend that after we are around others it’s miles socially anticipated that we care (be aware of them) enough in order that others sense cushty with our presence inside the organization.

Be mindful: Caring approximately others and the way our very own conduct impacts others in a social state of affairs can be proven in lots of exclusive ways. Don’t expect someone doesn’t care simply due to the fact that man or woman has difficulty with whole frame listening. Also, it’s vital to renowned and teach that some people make us experience uncomfortable. We don’t need to in my opinion care approximately anyone we talk to and adults need to not pressure worrying where it doesn’t exist or if the man or woman does no longer seem friendly or safe.

Brain: Teach youngsters approximately the mind and the way it Custom Poster works. Teach short and sustained attention strategies. Practice controlling impulses. Introduce The Social Fake (Social Thinking concept) and limit distractions. Lastly, certainly one of my maximum favorite tools is mindfulness, which has been proven to be a powerful device for the brain and all other body components. Teaching how to be aware of the prevailing second, on reason, can honestly help with understanding when to pause and reflect before performing, and knowing how and whilst to apply entire frame listening.

Be conscious: It’s crucial to do a take a look at-in earlier than assuming that a person is not thinking about what’s being said—they may show it in a way you don’t assume.

Be An Advocate

If the expectations of whole body listening show tough or not possible, it’s essential to advocate for your child or for yourself. For instance, in case you or your infant/student discover it tough or painful to maintain eye contact, speak this with the relevant humans involved within the scenario. Stating what’s real and true on the onset facilitates to create reasonable expectations and forestalls a state of affairs wherein expectancies pass unmet. By modeling and teaching advocacy capabilities, adults assist others develop the ability to talk up for themselves.

Adults can also create an surroundings that’s conducive to properly listening by using maintaining expectancies affordable for the developmental and cognitive stage of college students. Keep those ideas in mind:

Sitting nonetheless for long durations of time is difficult for everybody, and not feasible for some.

The intention isn’t to create student “drones” who are taught to illustrate complete frame listening in handiest one specific way.

Whole body listening have to now not be used to field children. Don’t forget that it’s miles a teaching tool—no longer a rule.

Create an environment that is conducive for listening with your complete body. Limit distractions, consider calming strategies, and make sure to help transitions and focus for whilst listening with the entire frame is predicted.

Help create situational awareness via talking approximately the hidden regulations and the extent of entire frame listening this is predicted at a given time.

Whole body listening is a useful device that breaks down the responsibilities involved in listening. It has now not simplest aided in creating a complicated concept clearer, however it will increase focus of expected behavior and might facilitate the teaching of self-advocacy talents. If taught, practiced and supported in a aware manner, it can turn out to be a addiction and more automatic response. However, to apply this concept successfully, we should be touchy to the precise abilities of anyone. Parents, teachers, therapists, and even employers have to recollect the challenges that entire frame listening may additionally cause and, whilst wanted, need to adapt listening strategies to match someone’s particular wishes. When suitable modifications are made and abilities are taken into consideration, whole body listening can be a powerful device that advantages a wide and various range of humans.


Elizabeth Sautter is the co-director/owner of Communication Works ( She is a licensed and authorized speech-language pathologist who has been operating with customers and their families in view that 1996.  She is experienced inside the areas of autism, developmental disabilities, social cognitive deficits, and difficult behaviors and given that 2001, has focused maximum of her career on social cognitive and self-law intervention and schooling. Her cutting-edge book release is Make Social Learning Stick!(2014). 

About the Books

Whole Body Listening Larry at School and Whole Body Listening Larry at Home are fascinating memories set in rhyme and geared to younger readers in Pre-K to grade three. The authors discover howsiblings, Leah and Luka, struggle to cognizance their brains and bodies at some stage in the faculty day or at domestic, and the easy but powerful teachings shared by their pal, Larry, who helps them research extra about what it manner to use their entire our bodies to concentrate and attend to others.

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