10 Tips to Teach an Autistic Child to Talk
Since one of the classic symptoms of autism is a marked deficit in verbal communication abilities, a common problem for applied behavior analysts and others who work with children and even adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder is simply being able to carry on a basic conversation. Something as simple as finding out what they want for lunch or whether or not they are happy or sad or indifferent about their current school assignment can be nearly impossible to find out if you rely on normal conversational methods.
While some parents wonder why their two-year-old child has still not started speaking, other parents are still waiting for their 6-year-old child to say his first words. There is no age for learning but it’s normal for parents to worry about when their child will talk. Reports show that autistic children mostly start learning from the age of 6 and older. However, there are ways of helping and teaching children with autism to talk.
1. Increase Social Interaction
It is said that children learn and adapt to their surroundings, hence the first and foremost thing to do is to not let him feel that he can’t do things like normal children. Take him to parks and increase his social interaction, since the more he’ll see people talking, the more he’ll be tempted to do the same.
2. Take His Interest Into Consideration
When you focus on what he likes and things of his interest, you’ll notice him being attentive and listening to you. You can begin by giving your child his favorite toy and making him play with it daily. Once your child is used to playing with the toy, all you need to do is keep that toy at a distance from him, someplace where he can’t reach it easily. When your child asks for the toy with gestures, hand it over to him in the beginning but as the days progress, make it seem as if you can’t understand his actions. This will persuade him to speak to get what he wants.
3. Use Simple Language
The easier the language, the better your child will be able to grasp words. Using simple and small words and avoiding complicated ones would make it easier for him. This will enable your child to quickly grasp the language and reciprocate through words.
4. Utilise Non-verbal Communication
Non-verbal communication lays the foundation for verbal communication. Mimicking your child’s gestures and all the things he does, nodding your head while saying yes, and so on make it easier for him to learn better and quicker. The easier the gestures and nonverbal communication, the easier it is for your child to understand and adapt better communication skills for the future.
5. Attach Labels to Things and Feelings
Let your child know the names of things and feelings. The best way is to teach him is to keep it subtle, for example, if he is going towards the fridge, tell him that he’s doing it because he’s hungry or thirsty. This will enable him to learn the names of the things around him, and attach names to different emotions.
6. Use Technological Aids
New technologies and visual support not only make it easier for you to teach your autistic child to talk, but also make it easier for him to understand better and in a fun way. There are several apps and games that make learning fun and easy and have been specially designed for autistic children.
7. Join a Parent Special Education Group
Google has a lot of ways you can teach your autistic toddler to talk, but it would also do good to join a parent or school education, group. Here, you’ll get to interact with parents who’re facing the same issue and might also find better ways to raise an autistic child.
8. Make Eye Contact
You may find it frustrating that your child never makes eye contact with any person who’s talking to him. He tends to avoid it since it scares him. For helping him make eye contact, you can start by putting funny stickers on your forehead for your child to look at. This will help him get used to making eye contact and also remind him to look at people’s faces.
9. Give Him Space
The best way of learning is self-learning. It’s important for your child to analyze and understand the situation well which will only happen when you give him some personal space. Taking out a lot of time may be an issue for you, but let your child learn at his own pace. Don’t force him to do things and just have patience and trust.
10. Have Faith in Him
The best thing you can do for your autistic child is to support him through thick and thin and make him realize that you’re with him always. Don’t put yourself under pressure as it could make him feel pressured too. Keep the home atmosphere positive and healthy for learning and growth. Let not any negativity affect your child. Teaching children with autism to talk is not very complicated, it just requires some patients.