One of the classic symptoms of autism is a deficiency in verbal communication and social skills. Most of the autistic children are unable to speak and some have trouble with communication. Every autistic child is different and so their nature of difficulty to talk is also different. It is very important to assess their need and learn strategies on how to teach an autistic child to talk. In this article, we will discuss seven autism communication strategies for promoting language development in nonverbal children and adolescents with autism.
Applied behavior analysts and others who work with children and even adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder commonly face a problem, how to communicate with a nonverbal autistic child.
Usually, normal conversational methods are nearly impossible to communicate with them. Then, the question arises how to communicate with an autistic child? Families and other relatives are concerned about will my autistic child ever talk?
There are so many published researches that reveal that even after age 4, many nonverbal children with autism eventually develop language. Therefore, the important point is, you should have a conversation with nonverbal autistic children.
They are helping their autistic child to cure at home. So, they want to know how they can promote language development in nonverbal children or teenagers with autism. And the good news is that research has created a number of effective speech strategies.
Tips to Make Conversation Easier
Before discussing the strategies to promote language development in autistic children, let’s talk about tips. Here is the list of tips which make process of teaching to talk to autistic child easy.
1. Help Them to Talk
Yes you, you can help them to speak. As, most of the adults find it difficult to talk with kids. So, they avoid talking with autistic children and take the easy way out. This is the BIG MISTAKE you are making unknowingly.
Do not assume that if an autistic child does not respond you, he does not want to talk to you. You should not take it personally and do not stop trying gently involve autistic kids in your conversation.
2. Pick Your Right Moments
Not every moment is right to talk with the autistic child. They are may be having a tough time about something. Or they are may be deeply involved in something. At such moments they will not respond you. Wait for them when they are calm.
3. Go with the Rhythm
Obsessions are one of the characteristics of Autism. Children with autism may want to have a discussion about one particular topic. As a result you might find it boring.
But this is the only approach to get your child in conversation. On contrary, if you force autistic child to have a conversation in the direction you want it go. Then result may be catastrophic. They may ignore you or will have an outburst.
4. Be Focused and To the Point
Autistic children cannot understand metaphors, allusions, or any abstract statements. When you are talking to them make sure that your sentences are short and direct.
5. Pace of the Conversation
This is another important factor to be considered. As Autistic children have to work to parse out what they hear. Therefore it is very important to keep the pace of the conversation at a level that the child can maintain.
6. Nonverbal Signals are very Important
You should pay close attention to nonverbal signals of your child with autism. Because autistic child has trouble in communicating, they often develop various types of behavior to tell you more. If you pay attention then you will learn to interpret them and you will have better understanding of your child with autism.
7. Remember they are Just Kids and Deserve Love
No matter how old they are but their thoughts and attitudes are being formed in an immature brain. Have patience while talking to them and with little practice you will have positive interpersonal connection. The results will be positive in terms of development of communication skills and enjoyable relationship.
Top Seven Strategies for Promoting Speech in Nonverbal Children and Adolescents with Autism
Here are top seven best ways to teach an autistic child to talk.
1. Encourage Interactive Play
Playing game is a secondary source of learning. Children can learn social and communication skills through play. Interactive plays are a source of communications. Therefore try a variety of games in which you can have enjoyable communication opportunities with your child.
2. Mimicking Your Child’s Sound
When you imitate your child’s sound, then your child will be encouraged to copy your sound. In this way he will enjoy and take turns.
3. Focus on Gestures, Nonverbal Communication
Gestures are part of communication — for example, when you say “yes” you node your head. These kinds of gestures are easy to imitate. So, when your child looks at something, take the cue and help him.
4. Give your Child Opportunity to Speak
It is natural to feel the urge to fill in language when a child look at something and you just hand that thing to him. Ohm…. You missed an opportunity to communicate. For example when he looks at cookie, and with a fraction of a second you understand what he wants. But wait and watch for any sound then respond promptly.
5. Small Sentences and Simple Conversation
If your child is a nonverbal, keep your speech limit to single word e-g ball, roll, mama, or dada. And if he is able to speak single word then speak in short phrases.
6. Draw Pictures to Represent the Words
Follow your child’s interests. If he cannot read or not interested in reading then draw an illustration. Focus on nonverbal autism activities. For this purpose, sit next to your child and draw a picture that describes your words. For example, ask,” Mike, would you like to play with a ball or Bear?” while you draw both types of toys. And ideally, Mike will draw a picture of the toy he wants.
7. Visual Supports and Devices
Technology has provided many devices that can foster language development of autistic children. Lots of apps are available for autistic children to learn speech.
They touch the picture on the screen of the iPad or any other device. The device produces a sound and helps your child to learn sounds. In this way, these devices help and teach your autistic child to talk. These devices also help your child with autism to use these apps to show his requests and thoughts.
Be careful because using tablets, phones, computer results in various outcomes. Always track their activities.
Your child therapists can guide you to select best strategies for encouraging language development of your child with autism. Discuss your child’s little achievements as well as difficulties with them.
So, they can guide you with good understanding. Together we can support children with autism.