Introduction to the Model
Communicating Partners is the result of clinical practice, research, and professional teaching since 1971. The focus has been on how children become social and communicative and how parent–child relationships can influence that goal. During this time, I have worked with over 1000 families of children across the autistic spectrum. (The model was also developed with many “late-talking” children not formally diagnosed with a disability. By late-talking I do not mean children who wake you up at night for a conversation. “Late talking” means that the child is not talking by the time typical children do. We have also seen autistic concerns in children with other diagnoses, such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, hearing problems, and other problems.)
The reason that families have been the focus of the approach rather than the individual child will become clear throughout the book. In a nutshell, the focus was on families because that is where children best develop communicative relationships.
At the same time, I directed a series of research and demonstration projects to study parent–child relationships. Luckily, the clinical and research work occurred at the Ohio State University in the context of teaching and clinically supervising over 800 students preparing for careers in developmental disabili-