From time to time, we all struggle with communicating. Whether we are trying to process our emotions, or feel uncomfortable in a specific situation, sometimes it is hard to find the right words to say. However, children with autism may find establishing communication more difficult than others.
Despite common misconceptions, children with autism and related disorders are not anti-social or standoffish. They just approach situations from a different perspective, which changes how they communicate. With that in mind, here are just some of the ways in which you can help your child with autism develop their communication skills.
Remember that not all communication is verbal.
Children with autism may find it harder to understand their emotions or talk about how they are feeling. However, just because they are not expressing themselves verbally does not mean they aren’t trying to communicate with you. They may be trying to tell you something but can’t fight the right words to say it. Pay attention to their behavior and how it changes. For example, they may begin to act in a certain way when they are hungry. When you notice a pattern, try to address this out loud with them. For example, you could ask questions such as, ‘Are you feeling hungry?’, ‘If you are hungry, let me know, we can grab a snack’. This could help them get started on verbal communication.
Consider attending therapy.
Therapy is a useful tool that can help your child grow and develop. At AleeBehavioral, our services are focused on finding ways for children to reach their full potential – and this includes finding effective ways for them to communicate through speech therapy and applied behavior analysis. Get in touch today to find out more.
Keep it simple.
If your child is relatively young, you should start small when encouraging them to communicate. For example, when engaging in conversation with them, keep your sentences short. This can help them remain focused and will not overwhelm them. Over time, you can gradually increase the length of your conversations and incorporate new and more complicated language. This method is exactly the same as the way in which you help any child communicate.
Focus on their interests.
We all feel more comfortable speaking when we are given the opportunity to talk about something we love. Therefore, one way in which you can help your child develop their communication skills is by regularly engaging in conversations with them about their hobbies or special interests. Ask as many questions as possible during this time, as this can help the conversation last longer.
Encourage them to socialize with others.
Children tend to develop more quickly when they are surrounded by their peers. This is because they learn a great deal of information about the world around them from others. Therefore, you can help your child improve their ability to communicate by encouraging them to play with other children their age or singing them up to after school clubs and classes. By making new friends, they will also grow in confidence.
In short, there are various steps you can take that will help your child develop effective communication skills that they can carry into adulthood. However, the most important thing to remember is that you have to be patient. Don’t push them too far or put too much pressure on them – allow them to develop at a speed that they are comfortable with, and provide them with support throughout their journey.