Many children with autism have trouble with their communication. Difficulties in initiating and maintaining conversations often prevent children with autism from developing friendships and impacting their school performance. Even though communication skills do not develop naturally in children on the autism spectrum, it is still possible to improve their skills using various techniques. Here are some tips to help your child improve their communication skills.
Use Visual Aids
For children that are nonverbal or struggle with speech and language, pictures and other visual aids can be an excellent way to encourage communication. You can try making flashcards with pictures of things that interest your child. Flashcards can also be used to show emotions and feelings, which can be difficult for children with autism to understand.
Use Social Stories
A social story is a handy tool to help children on the autism spectrum better understand different situations and help children interact and appropriately engage with others. You can use social stories to model suitable social interactions by describing a situation with relevant social cues, other people’s perspectives, and a suggested appropriate response.
Pick a Topic that Interests Your Child
Often, children have a favorite toy, cartoon character, or superhero that they identify with and spend a lot of time playing with it. Try to choose a topic that interests your child to encourage them to engage in the conversation.
Be Literal When Possible
Children with autism tend to take things literally. As a result, jokes and sarcasm can be complicated for them to understand. It is important to speak plainly and say what you mean. This will help your child when conversing with others, so they know when to joke around and when they need to be serious.
Patience is Key
Like anything else, it is essential to model patience when teaching your child a new skill. As a parent, you may want to take over and give your child what they need immediately. However, it’s beneficial to be patient and allow your child to figure out the words independently. This will help them improve their verbal and communication skills. It is also important that you speak slowly, so they have time to reflect and respond to what you say.
One of the most beneficial ways to help your child learn communicational and social skills is to practice these skills in an imaginary scenario. While role-playing, you can be a fictitious character and have your child practice conversational skills with you as they have learned.
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.