For Schools- Teachers can use Me Messages to encourage silent children to increase verbalization, or to reduce calling out by silent sign usage.
For In the Home- Parents can introduce the use of Me Messages when tensions are high, when children have difficulty verbalizing their needs/wants, or when children habitually act out instead of communicating. Can be used by both children and caregivers.
For Family Therapy- Use Me Messages during parent/child talk time with children who have difficulty verbalizing with their caregivers. Create a safe space where the use of these signs is praised, honored, and encouraged, with the goal of eventual direct verbal communication. Review and model for parents the use of praise and responsiveness to the use of these signs while their child gains the skill and comfort needed to eventually engage in direct verbal communication.
For Individual Counseling- In the beginning phase of treatment use Me Messages with children who have difficulty verbalizing common needs, wants, and opinions. Create a safe space where the use of these signs is praised, honored, and encouraged, with the goal of eventual direct verbal communication.
Additional Clinical Uses:
Trauma- During trauma treatment children may become overwhelmed during the gradual exposure process. Introduce the PAUSE sign with children as clinically indicated; honor its use.
Attachment- Use the LOVE/ATTENTION sign to help children struggling with attachment challenges or disruptions to recognize and communicate their own unique need for love, affection, and validation from their caregivers.
Selective Mutism- Use of Me Messages can be a first step in helping children with selective mutism gain comfort with communication.
Autism Spectrum- Use of Me Messages can be incorporated into work with children on the autism spectrum to help them communicate their needs, wants, and opinions.