Communication is tricky for children with autism to master. They may need assistance. This article will cover how ASD affects communications, strategies, and more to help you better understand children with autism and assist them in letting you know what they need.
How Does ASD Affect Communication?
ASD impacts communication between children with autism and those they are speaking with in the world. Children with ASD typically are self-absorbed and may live in their private world. Through this strategy, they have limited ability to talk to and interact with others.
Often, kids with autism will struggle to develop verbal skills and can’t understand what other people say to them. This trouble will put a barrier between them and others.
Children with autism may also struggle with nonverbal communication. They may have difficulty using hand gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact.
Overall, their communication ability depends on their intellectual and social development. Some kids may have limited speaking skills, while others can’t use words or other forms of speech.
Still, other kids with autism could have extensive vocabularies and be able to talk about specific subjects in detail. However, they might not understand body language and varying vocal tones and social cues. These can make it tricky for kids with autism to interact.
Here are a few examples of patterns of language and behaviors found in children with ASD:
- Repetitive or rigid language: Their language may be very stiff and rigid, confined to an uncomfortable box as they communicate. They may repeat the same things over and over known as echolalia.
- Narrow interests and exceptional abilities: Children with ASD may have few interests and talk about them often. They could be exceptionally good at one thing.
- Uneven language development: Children with ASD may have uneven language development, strong in some areas but weak in others.
- Poor nonverbal skills: They may not be able to communicate through things like hand gestures and eye contact. It may be painful or strange for them to do.
Let’s discuss how to make the most of your child’s attempts.
Making The Most Of Autistic Children’s Attempts To Communicate
Although it might seem tricky, there are many ways to make the most of your child with autism’s attempts to communicate. It’s critical to get what you can out of interactions to ensure your child feels understood and loved.
Here are a few of the best ways to make the most of communication attempts:
- Use short sentences: When possible, make your sentences short and simple. For example, “Shirt on”.
- Use less mature language: Tone down the complexity of your words. Keep it simple.
- Exaggerate your tone of voice: Talk very specifically and with an exaggerated tone. For example, “Ouch, that water is VERY hot”.
- Encourage and prompt your child: Ask them to fill in the gap when speaking. For example, “What Color is the Dog?”
- Ask questions that need a reply: Prompt your child to practice communication by asking a question that needs an answer from them.
- Give your child time to understand and respond: Wait and give them plenty of time to think about the question and respond accordingly.
- Practice regular communication: Talk to them about things they love or are interested in.
Let’s talk about a few autism communication strategies.
Autism Communication Strategies
There are many communication strategies to take advantage of when speaking with children with autism. Each of these approaches from a different direction, allowing you multiple points of access between you and your child.
Strategy #1: Using Communication Boards
Adapt a communication board for communication. This tool allows nonverbal children with autism to express themselves by pointing and gesturing at images. A communication board could have illustrations, photographs, or symbols.
Pros – Communication boards are simple to create and easy to use.
Cons – If you go electronic, they are expensive and inaccessible.
Strategy #2: Using a Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
A Picture Exchange Communication System allows children with autism to use images to represent their thoughts and requests.
Pros – It promotes small gains in communication. It will also help kids adapt to speech-generating devices, which is valuable for the future.
Cons – It isn’t homemade, which can limit the number of images available for children to select.
Strategy #3: Using Speech Generating Devices (SGDs)
This device is slightly different. It produces words for the user through alphabet keys or visual symbols.
Pros – They are simple and easy to use. SGDs also allow the user to craft their sentences, promoting language.
Cons – These devices can cost a lot of money, which limits accessibility to some.
Strategy #4: Using Sign Language
A final strategy is ASL or American Sign Language. Many children with autism use this strategy as their primary way of speaking. If you can teach and communicate in ASL with your child, it will open doors to communication and community.
Pros – Sign language offers a different form of expression and allows quick learning and communication.
Cons – It can be tricky and won’t work for kids with trouble using their hands or fingers.
Next, let’s dive into another form of communication – ABA.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
Applied Behavior Analysis, commonly referred to as ABA is one of the most widely used therapy options for children with autism. The goal is to help patients manage and work on behaviors. It will allow them to overcome social struggles and avoid disruptions.
Excerpts suggest children with autism should use ASD 20-40 hours a week. They should receive rewards for positive behaviors and no attention for negative behaviors.
ABA techniques can be used at home but are also valuable in a clinical setting. They provide flexibility and offer plenty of opportunities for kids to practice at home and work on their skills for the real world.
It’s tricky for many children with autism to communicate, and it can hurt as a parent to not be able to communicate with your child. They may struggle with verbal or nonverbal communication or cannot pick up social cues.
Luckily, there are ways to attempt communication with kids with autism. Through various devices, sign language, and techniques at home, it’s possible to establish communication that works for everyone.
If you are ready to work with the best ABA therapy provider in New York, New Jersey or Indiana, give us a call at (732) 402-0297. Our dedicated team is ready to help and we will treat you like family.