Julia Scherba de Valenzuela, Ph.D.
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The Transactional Model of Communication Development

"...communication development is viewed as a transactional process that involves a developmental interaction vis-a-vis the child and communicative partners. This perspective emphasizes the reciprocal, bidirectional influence of the communication environment, the responsiveness of communicative partners, and the child's own developing communicative competence. For example, this model assumes that the increasing readability or clarity of the child's communicative behavior may influence the parent's style and frequency of contingent responsiveness in ways that will further scaffold the child's developing competence during the transition to linguistic communication (Wetherby, Warren, & Reichle, 1998, p. 2)."

"In this transactional model [Sameroff and Chandler's 1975 model], developmental outcomes at any point in time are seen as a result of a continuous dynamic interplay among child behavior, caregiver responses to the child's behavior, and environmental variables that may influence both the child and the caregiver...Children are viewed as active participants who learn to affect the behavior and attitudes of others through active signaling and who gradually learn to use more sophisticated and conventional means to communicate through caregivers' contingent social responsiveness (Dunst, Lowe, & Bartholomew, 1990). The quality and nature of the contexts in which interaction occurs are considered to have a great influence on the successful acquisition of language and communicative behavior...development can be understood only by analysis of the interactive context, not simply by focusing solely on the child or the caregivers, because successful communication involves reciprocity and mutual negotiation" (Kublin et al., 1998, p. 286).

"The fundamental assumption of the transactional model is that development is facilitated by a bidirectional, reciprocal interaction between the child and his or her environment. A change in the child may trigger a change in the environment, which in turn affects the child and so on. In this way, both the child and the environment change over time and affect each other in a reciprocal fashion, and early achievements pave the way for subsequent development" (Warren & Yoder, p. 368).

Kublin, K. S., Wetherby, A. M., Crais, E. R., & Prizant, B. M. (1989). Prelinguistic dynamic assessment: A transactional perspective. In A. M. Wetherby, S. F. Warren, & J. Reichle (Eds.), Transitions in prelinguistic communication  (pp. 285-312). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.

Warren, S. F., Yoder, P. J. (1998). Facilitating the transition from preintentional to intentional communication. In A. M. Wetherby, S. F. Warren, & J. Reichle (Eds.), Transitions in prelinguistic communication  (pp. 365-384). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.

Wetherby, A. M., Warren, S. F., & Reichle, J. (1998). Introduction to transitions in prelinguistic communication. In A. M. Wetherby, S. F. Warren, & J. Reichle (Eds.), Transitions in prelinguistic communication  (pp. 1-11). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.
 


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Last updated: July 30, 2002