Finding out that your child has autism is quite devastating for any parent; however, realizing along the way that your child has difficulty concerning verbal communication is adding salt to a fresh wound. Almost 30% of autism spectrum disorders cases have little or no verbal forms of effective communication. Experts suggest practicing encouraging language development in nonverbal children with autism religiously.In the past, many people including parents of children with autism thought that if their child is unable to speak at the age of four, it means having a nonverbal child all throughout. This belief is debunked by various studies conducted recently. The results are promising, and it suggests that children with autism can still develop communication skills beyond the age of 4. Parents and people around the child can aid and promote communication through various ways. It is best to know that autism is different for every child. There is no one size fits all. The techniques and methods may differ depending on the case of the child.
Encourage Social Interaction
Like any other child, children with autism also learn through play and interaction. Similarly, they are also very perceptive about what they see in the environment. Learning about language and communication through play and games is recommended. Provide interactive games so that they will be given the opportunity to be social and talk. During play or when he is singing, stay on the front of your child at eye level so that he can see your mouth and hear you.
Promote Simplified Communication
This works best if the parents, teachers and primary caregivers utilize the motivation of the child. It can be as simple as favorite food, toy or movie. Use these motivations as a tool to encourage them to learn about communication. For example, use flashcards of different food and then you can ask them to find the food that she/he wants to eat. Give him/her favorite food as a treat afterward.
Research suggests playing the mimicking game with your child. Begin by mimicking their behaviors, and then they would possibly understand along the way that he/she will take turns in copying each other. Imitate the positive responses. Don’t encourage negative behaviors.
Use Basic Language
If possible, give short, simple instructions. Using one-word also encourage imitation of single words. For instance, if it is already playtime, you can point to his/her to “toy” at the same saying the word. If there’s a sign of progress, maybe you can start saying phrases and then simple sentences. Go by the pace of the child.
Make Use Of Nonverbal Communication
Communication is not limited to the verbal type. In fact, a big chunk of conversation is nonverbal cues. Use the tone of voice and body language while communicating with your child. Also, exaggerate every gesture to further aid in relaying the message. For example, nods head simultaneously say “YES.”
Give Them Space
The pace of children with autism spectrum disorder varies greatly. Always be patient with teaching them communication skills. Do not rush them when asking questions or finish the sentences for them. Give them ample time to gather their thoughts and speak their mind. Observe their body language and emotions.