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Communicating Partners 30 Years of Building Responsive Relationships with Late Talking Children including Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome (ASD), Down Syndrome, and Typical Devel

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Book - Communicating Partners 30 Years of Building Responsive Relationships with Late Talking Children including Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome (ASD), Down Syndrome, and Typical Devel

by: James D. MacDonald

About the author:

James D. MacDonald, Ph.D was Professor of Speech and Language Pathology and Developmental Disabilities at Ohio State University. He has written six books and over fifty professional papers on communication development. He currently directs the Communicating Partners Center which provides family therapy, continuing education workshops, school consultations, and an international information network through an internet group.

ISBN: 978-1-84310-758-3

Year: 2004

Publication Info: 336pp


Communicating Partners, the result of over thirty years of clinical practice and research work with pre-verbal and verbal children with language delays, offers an innovative approach to working with late talking children that focuses on developing relationships through mutual understanding. Providing detailed maps of what children and their life partners need to do to ensure effective social relationships, the program focuses on five key stages of communication development – interactive play, nonverbal communication, social language, conversation, and civil behavior – and five life-long responsive strategies to use every day to build relationships within the child’s own world. Communicating Partners addresses issues such as:

– What does a child need to do before language?
– What are effective ways to help a child socialize and communicate from early play through civil conversations?
– How have parents successfully helped children learn to communicate at home?
– How can a child develop socially effective language and conversation skills?
– How can a child with an autistic spectrum disorder, Down Syndrome or other significant delays develop rich social relationships?
– What have families done to build warm social relationships with their children?
– What is developmentally effective therapy and education when social and communicative delays are of major concern?

Illustrated with personal stories and research findings, and containing a wealth of practical suggestions to help parents, teachers, and professionals understand their child’s world, Communicating Partners is an invaluable resource for all those interacting and working with late talking children.



Preface. Part I: Introduction to the Model. 1. The 30-year journey with 1000 children – how Communicating Partners came about. 2. Guiding Principles. 3. Key features of Communicating Partners and contrasts with traditional approaches to autism. 4. Examples of children studied for this book. 5. Theoretical foundations for Communicating Partners. 6. Basic components of Communicating Partners: five developmental stages and five relationship strategies. Part II: Five Stages of Communication. 7. Interaction: the first stage in learning to communicate. 8. Nonverbal communication: the second stage in learning to communicate. 9. Social language: the third stage in learning to communicate. 10. Conversation: the fourth stage in learning to communicate. 11. Civil behavior: the fifth stage in learning to communicate. Part III: Following your child’s development from isolation to civil conversation. 12. The Adult-Child Relationship Map for assessment and planning. 13. The environment form. Appendix A: Research support for Communicating Partners. References. Subject Index. Author Index.



James MacDonald’s book is based on over 30 years of research and clinical work at Ohio State University. Communicating Partners is an optimistic approach to working with children with communication disorders. It challenges practitioners to think beyond traditional therapy programmes and focus more on language learning in naturalistic environments and developing strengths through positive social relationships. MacDonald encourages practitioners and parents to consider the power of child-led play and advocates the theory that only once you enter into the child’s world will you have the slightest chance of teaching them something new. Communicating Partners is a useful resource for professionals working with children with language and social communication difficulties and would also be of interest to parents.


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