Authors: Kristen Wilson,Elizabeth Sautter
What is Whole Body Listening?Whole Body Listening is more than just “hearing” with the ears. It includes:
- listening with the eyes (looking at the speaker)
- listening with the mouth (closed and quiet - no talking, humming, making sounds, etc.)
- listening with the body (facing the speaker)
- listening with the hands (quietly at the side of the body or in the lap)
- listening with the feet (standing still or quietly on the floor)
- listening with the brain (thinking about what the speaker is saying)
- and listening with the heart (caring about what the speaker is saying)
Being a good listener means much more than just hearing what is said with the ears. It is important to break down ALL of the components of listening for your child. Many children hear various statements like, “Show me good listening” or “I need you to listen”; however, we often forget to talk about what that means. When the entire family understands the components of Whole Body Listening, you can give specific instruction about which areas of listening you would like your child to improve – “Sally, I need you to listen with your feet.”
Whole Body Listening: A Tool, Not a Rule
When it comes to listening, many children do not fully understand what is expected of them or may not be able to meet the expected demands. Whole body listening is an approach created to help kids learn how to improve their listening by doing certain expected behaviors. But this is a tool - not a rule. We know parts of this concept will be challenging for some of individuals. We continue to encourage these individuals to learn strategies to help them improve their whole body listening when compared to their own previous behavior. The concept of Whole body listening is based on the idea that we can all listen to what is going on around us in a more meaningful manner.
For more on this topic and a list of strategies for how to calm down each body part, check out this article:
Taking a Deeper Look at Whole Body Listening: It's a Tool Not a Rule
By Elizabeth Sautter, Co-author of the Whole Body Listening Larry series
How to use this book:Take the time to look at all the photos, and have your child think about what it means to listen with each body part. Talk about how the characters in this book feel when they are not listening or being listened to. Then ask your child how he or she feels when someone IS or IS NOT listening with their whole body when he or she is talking. Finally, discuss the impression that your child makes on the speaker when your child is not using Whole Body Listening.
Taking a Deeper Look at Whole Body Listening Larry
Click here to read a recent article by Whole Body Listening Larry author Elizabeth Sautter. She explains how listening with your whole body involves integrating all of the body senses (sensory processing), along with executive functioning (self-control of brain and body), and perspective taking (thinking of others and what they are saying). This is not an easy task. Many children do not fully understand what is expected of them or may not be able to meet the expected demands when it comes to listening. In teaching whole body listening we are providing a tool not a rule. We know this concept will continue to be challenging for many people but through this teaching we can encourage all individuals to expand their idea of how they listen to what is going on around them in a more meaningful manner.
About the Authors
Kristen Wilson, MS CCC, is a speech-language pathologist who specializes in working with children, teens and adults with autism, social differences and language disorders. She is a Southern California native who has enjoyed working in a variety of settings over the past decade. She believes building self esteem and self awareness is the key to successful therapy. Kristen lives in Placentia, CA with her husband.
Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC, is a speech-language pathologist and co-director/owner of Communication Works, an Oakland, CA-based private practice that provides speech, language and occupational therapy. She has specialized in supporting those with autism, developmental disabilities and social cognitive deficits for over 15 years. Since 2001, Elizabeth has focused her practice on social learning interventions, helping clients understand the thoughts of others and improving their social skills. Additionally, her relationships with her sister and extended family members with special needs have made her work a life-long endeavor. She resides in Oakland with her husband and two sons.
Eric Hutchison has been working professionally in the arts and entertainment industry for almost 10 years and currently resides with his wife and two children in Southern California.
What People are Saying
Mark Siobhan - Parent to Twins with Asperger's Syndrom"Who would have known that a book this enjoyable could help teachers meet listening comprehension grade standards? Using explicit language and wonderful illustrations, teachers can easily infuse this book and its lessons into their daily curriculum. The Whole Body Listening language has helped my child be more aware of how to connect with others during play, peer group work, and class instruction.”
Karen Kaplan - SLP, Executive Director, Autism Consultant"Each school year, the classroom teacher spends a great deal of time building a community of good listeners. Thanks to Elizabeth and Kristen, this job has just been made a whole lot easier! Whole Body Listening Larry at School presents an engaging story about a school buddy named Larry who provides gentle tips to his new classmates on how to listen with your entire body! Teachers, parents, and other caregivers will love the suggested activities, the clear and simple visuals, and the easy bridge to positive group discussions. Nice work!”
Natalie Walchuck - Principal"Success for all students in school requires an understanding of many complex social systems. Whole Body Listening Larry at School guides children through these social complexities with creative and engaging language and adorable illustrations. All of the additional games, activities, and lesson plans provide a great resource for educators. Every teacher, parent, and administrator should have this book on their shelf!”
Pamela Wolfberg - Associate Professor, Director"This charming little book is certain to be huge in helping young children of diverse abilities understand the hidden social conventions of life at school. Teachers, therapists, and parents will delight in sharing this book, as it will captivate the interest and attention of most every child. With its cheerfully rhyming text and highly animated illustrations, children will be drawn in and discover something new on every page while learning how to listen not only with one’s ears but the whole body—including the heart.”
ProfessionBehaviorist, Mental Health (counselor, social worker, psych), Occupational Therapist (and PT), Parent, Speech Language Pathologist, Teacher (Sp.Ed. and Gen.Ed.)
AgeEarly Learners (4-7 yrs), Grades K-2, Grades 3-5
Diagnostic LabelAttention Issues (ADD/ADHD), Anxiety, Asperger's Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Language or Learning Disability, Nonverbal Learning Disability, Social Communication Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, No Diagnosis, Other
Social Thinking & Social SkillsConcepts & Frameworks, PBIS/RTI, Self Regulation, Social Responsibility & Executive Functioning, Social Skill Strategies
- Published: 2011
- Publisher: Think Social Publishing, Inc.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 28
- ISBN: 9780982523186
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