Dr. James MacDonald 332 Mimring Columbus, Ohio 43202 Phone/Fax 614 447-0768 macdonald.3@osu.edu

Communicating Partners

Dr. James D. MacDonald's Website

Helping Parents Help Children. Programs for Parents, Therapists & Educators


Introduction To the Adult-Child Relationship Map (ARM)

Follow your child's social and communication development from early play through civil conversations.

The ARM (Adult Child-Relationship Map) is the central tool of the Communicating Partners programs (formerly "ECO") it is for parents and professionals to help children socialize and communicate more effectively. The ARM measures a child's current signature strengths and changes over time, identifies the child's next developmental steps, and provides adults with guides for interacting in ways that will help the child socialize and communicate.

There are five developmental forms to the ARM. Each form relates to a different stage of communication development. The five stages are:

  1. Interactive Life
  2. Nonverbal Communicative Life
  3. Social Language Life
  4. Conversation Life
  5. Civil and Emotional life

Each form has a Child guide and an Adult or Partner guide. The Child guide informs you where your child is now developing in terms of signature strengths, what he or she needs to do next and how he or she is changing over time.

The Adult-Partner guide shows how to interact and communicate with a child so that he or she becomes more social and communicative. The Adult guide shows how to use the following five proven strategies to help a child develop in each stage.

  1. Sensitive Responding
  2. Balancing
  3. Matching
  4. Sharing Control
  5. Emotionally Playful

The Environment guide identifies potential barriers to your child's communication and directs you to consider changes that may allow him to socialize and communicate more.

The ARM is based on 30 years of research with over 1000 children, parents and educators. The ARM can be used with the books Communicate with Your Child (2002) and Communicating Partners (2004).