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with Heather Gilmore, MSW, LLMSW, BCBA

Speaking with Nonverbal Communication, Not with Words

Communication happens both verbally and nonverbally. Although most people think of communication as being spoken words from one person to another, communication is actually more often nonverbal than it is verbal interactions.

93 percent of all human communication is nonverbal (Boone, 2018).

People can learn a great deal from each other by giving attention to another person’s nonverbal communication instead of just focusing on the other person’s verbal, or spoken, language.

Nonverbal communication includes the observable behaviors that a person displays.

This idea that nonverbal communication, that actions can tell us a great deal, is really important for all social interactions. It is, in certain ways, even more important for parents and caregivers of children who do not have or have limited verbal communication skills.

Children who don’t speak with words or having difficulty speaking with words can communicate with their behaviors. This can be seen in many children such as young children who are still developing language skills or children with autism spectrum disorder who may not have the ability to speak verbally.

To learn more about what someone is trying to communicate, it is important to pay attention to their nonverbal communication, their behaviors. This is true for both children and adults. It is true for people with and without disabilities, as well.


Boone, V. M. 2018. Positive Parenting for Autism: Powerful Strategies to Help Your Child Overcome Challenges and Thrive. Althea Press; Emeryville, California.

Speaking with Nonverbal Communication, Not with Words

Heather Gilmore, MSW, BCBA

Heather is a freelance writer, Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), and social worker. Heather takes interest in topics related to parenting, children, families, personal development, health and wellness, applied behavior analysis, as well as Autism, ADHD, Depression and Anxiety. Contact Heather if you would like to inquire about obtaining her freelance writing services. You can view more articles and resources from Heather at and email her at [email protected] You can also advertise your autism services at one of Heather's websites: Heather is the developer of the "One-Year ABA Parent Training Curriculum."


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APA Reference
Gilmore, H. (2020). Speaking with Nonverbal Communication, Not with Words. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 19, 2020, from