The Importance of Making Contextual and Social Connection in Expressive Language
When we teach a child, we want to develop their ability to communicate and use their language. We first focus on receptive based learning, labeling items, colours, numbers and letters etc. We do this to teach the child how to label things, how to ask for what they want, and these are the basics of how they can communicate. Although teaching children how to memorize and label pictures and items which is the building blocks to their language skills, it is not the whole picture.
It is important that we add and build on their receptive language. This is accomplished by adding how to use these labels in context. If they know the colour blue, can their experience painting with the colour blue change how they use it. Can they paint blue sky, or blue flowers, what else can they paint blue? These social and expressive experiences expand the way children understand the receptive language they have learnt. *Within the Autism brain it is particularly important to incorporate expressive tools such Art. When well directed, this allows the ASD brain's 'limbic system' to be overridden (calmed Amydala) so that the context can be learned and create a potential pathway for the expression.*
What do we play music with:
instruments, our hands, our fingers, our breath? Do we hit a drum, push a key, or blow a whistle? It is experiencing, music, painting, and other artistic ways of expressing ourselves that we learn the context of how things go together. By teaching children cause and effect of how things work, our aim is to build on receptive language to broaden the range of experiences. Without exposure to new experiences, and social settings children don't have the ability to learn how to use acquired language in context.
“As we interact in a contextually rich learning environment, we
pick up relevant jargon, imitate behavior, and gradually start to act in
accordance with the norms of the cultural setting.”
—Source: Contextual Learning Strategies
written by Emily McLennan - Art therapist - BBAIM team