By engaging with your child in simple activity frameworks and allowing them to develop competency in these frameworks you will be able to help your child:

Develop the ability to take on the lead role in a joint activity and be able to send both nonverbal and verbal communication to others as well as receive and respond to the nonverbal and verbal communication of others.

Why This Is Important?

This will help your child experience the power of agency. To be competent in social communication and in social environments, your child will need to be able to both initiate and respond.


  • Experience feelings of ‘synchrony’ and ‘flow’ when they are involved in joint interaction with you.
  • Recognize when feelings of ‘flow’ and ‘synchrony’ have broken down.

Why This Is Important?

The concept of ‘flow’ or ‘synchrony’ is very important in social interaction.  Being able to recognize the ‘feeling’ of ‘flow’ and the feeling of being ‘in synchrony’ with another person is what helps us maintain an unscripted social interaction with another.

Recognizing when we are ‘in flow’ is what helps us recognize the opposite feeling, the feeling of not being in ‘synchrony’. Children need to understand that communication with another person often breaks down. Children need to see these routine breakdowns as commonplace and not be emotionally affected by them. They need to notice when the ‘flow of communication’ has broken down and automatically take actions to initiate and repair the breakdown and get back in sync with the other. This process needs to become very automatic.


Develop the ability and confidence to contribute their own ideas to a common play theme in a spontaneous and improved manner.


Why This Is Important?

Social interaction is very improvised. We typically do not plan out what we are going to say or do before engaging with a partner in a familiar activity. We observe or listen to what a person is saying and then we respond with an idea of our own.

Because we are familiar with the feeling of flow and because we understand its importance, we are always careful to make sure that our idea ‘fits’ within the theme of the joint activity or conversation. We evaluate the ‘fit’ of our contribution on this basis. We improvise our communication and we continuously and almost unconsciously monitor and evaluate it. When we ‘notice’ that our words or our ideas have disrupted the ‘flow’ of communication or that synchrony has broken down, we change our communication. We know that ‘flow’ is important.


How RDI Can Help You Work On and Achieve These Goals


You can intentionally create very important learning opportunities for your child by engaging them in a variety of ‘same but different’ joint role frameworks with you.


Through their active and successful participation in these joint experiences you will be able to support your child to develop the important mental processes that support successful social improvisation.

As a guide in these activities, you can help your child initiate and share their own thoughts and actions. You can help your child understand that they can ‘send’ or ‘initiate’ communication. You can take actions to help them experience the simple feelings of ‘flow’ and ‘communication breakdown’.

Through participating with your child in simple joint role frameworks, you can help them develop the mental tools they will need to engage in improvisational social communication and play with others successfully.


Example Of A Simple Role Framework That You Can Use To Support The Development If These Mental Tools and Social Abilities


  • The Complimentary Role Action  – You Do “X”, I Do “Y” Framework
  • This is what we have been calling the ‘Sender Receiver’ framework
  • This framework is a simple but very effective framework. It can become a great teaching tool


Why this Framework Is A Helpful Guiding Tool

This activity framework will allow you to work on agency and the initiation of communication, improvised variations and activity contributions and the experience of being ‘in flow’ or ‘in sync’ with a partner.

  • This framework will allow your child to experience ‘leading’ communication. When you and your child ‘change jobs’ your child will have to ‘send’ communication. They will make them the communication leader.
  • This framework will allow you to model activity variations – like passing variations.
  • Your child will have an opportunity to borrow from your thinking and ‘expert knowledge’ learn from you.
  • This framework will allow you to create breakdowns and/or spotlight very simple activity and communication breakdowns. This will allow your child to experience the disruption in ‘flow’ and ‘synchrony’ and the experience of making a repair that restores ‘flow’ and ‘synchrony’.


Questions? Leave a Comment and I will get back with you