While formal speech therapy lessons help children with autism spectrum disorder improve their communication skills, most of their communication development happens outside the therapy office. Parents and caregivers are critical speech therapy providers for children with autism, and they can partner with their child’s therapist to incorporate communication lessons at home. In addition to personalized therapy, you can do easy and fun activities to help support your child with autism. Keep reading for some examples of speech therapy exercises you can do at home.
Read With Your Child
If your child has delayed speech or is non-verbal, they may benefit from reading together. Reading with them and even singing nursery rhymes may be a good exercise that encourages them to speak. Choose an interactive book that comes with pictures and pull-outs. Try to point at every illustration and describe what you see as you are reading.
Teach Essential Words
Teaching your child some essential words like “more,” “help,” and “done” can help them in the long run. Some children with autism struggle to use known words in an unfamiliar context. So, it is beneficial to teach your child to use the same word in different situations. For example, give your child a small portion of food at dinner, and when they have finished eating what is on their plate, model the sign for “more” while saying the word. This exercise is great for teaching your child how to communicate what they want and is beneficial to kids who cannot communicate their needs, either verbally or nonverbally.
Sorting games are an easy and fun way to teach your child the differences between objects. They can learn the difference between big and small, colors, and counting through sorting games. This type of activity allows your child to learn new words and numbers. An easy sorting game you can try is color sorting ball pit balls. Just gather two different colored balls like red and blue, then have your child divide the two colors between two containers, each labeled with the respective color.
Use Picture Boards
Picture boards are an essential form of communication with children on the autism spectrum that have communication and language difficulties. You can use a picture board to help your child understand when to do different tasks. For example, you can have pictures representing playtime, mealtime, school, or sleeping. Using these tools can slowly advance your child’s communication skills to make choices and ask questions.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in the fields of pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (301) 577-4333. Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.