When children with autism want something, they usually take it themselves or take someone else’s hand to get it, and rarely use language because it is a very complicated and inept thing for them to do.
Therefore, the first thing we need to do is to make the child feel that talking is a useful thing to do, and that if they want something, they have to say it. When the child realizes that talking can get what he or she wants, he or she will think that talking is useful, and will slowly change from a communication mode in which movement replaces language to a communication mode in which language is the main focus.
So what does communication training for autistic children involve? There are six steps that we need to master before teaching an autistic child to communicate, and they are:
Find a goal that the child wants to work towards
Although children with autism have no interest in communication and social interaction, every child has something that he wants the most, so we must seize this opportunity to practice with him.
Usually, the more common ones are food or toys, and it’s not so hard to hand hold what your child wants the most and then get him to talk. The best thing is that when the child does open his mouth to say the name of that thing, we promptly reward him with that thing, and then the likelihood of him saying the name of that thing on his own in the future will increase.
Modeling the correct way of expression
When it is certain that the child wants the item we are holding, it is time to demonstrate it to the child. It is best to use simple words, e.g., if the child wants “candy,” model “candy” and wait for the child to imitate. In the beginning, the child will continue to challenge us with different behaviors, such as crying and tantrums, in order to get the object in our hands.
If we hold on and don’t compromise at this time, then the child will gradually learn to use verbal expression instead of finger pointing or crying behavior. It is important to note that children with autism are unlikely to start out with a specific sound, such as “candy”, and may only make “t” or unrelated sounds such as “ah”, “ah”, “ah”, “ah”, “ah”, “ah”, “ah”, “ah”, “ah”, “ah”, and “ah”. “ah.
However, this is okay because he is already trying, and it is time to reward him with something he wants as a reward for his efforts, and then gradually, through repetition, the child’s pronunciation can be brought closer to the correct one.
Let your child speak on his own initiative
With our prompting, once the child is able to say what he wants, you can start creating opportunities to wait for the child to take the initiative to speak. Start by showing your child what he wants to get and then wait and see if your child can make an active attempt at language.
If he does, then give a compliment and give him the item right away. Never ask your child to say it again or ask him to say it to someone around him. Always give a reward at this time and don’t make your child put in too much effort to get the same thing.
If talking instead makes it harder to get the same thing, the child may give up talking. If the child cannot or does not understand what you mean, and does not say the name of the thing when he sees it, then go back to the previous step, where the therapist says “candy” and asks the child to imitate it.
At this time, because it is imitation, so only reward him a small piece of candy, when he took the initiative to say “candy”, you can reward him a large piece of candy. Different treatment of different responses, so that the child knows: if you want to get a large piece of candy, you have to take the initiative to say it, otherwise you can only get a small bit.
Enhance the interactivity of communication
While we are constantly asking our children to speak, we must be careful: language practice must be done constantly in a targeted and practical way.
For example, if your child likes to be picked up and thrown high, you can use these opportunities to ask your child to say “hug” and then we pick him up, then ask him to say “high” and then we throw him high. Since this is an activity that the child enjoys, he or she will be more willing to use language to make the request. In addition to practicing the use of language, this will also deepen the emotional connection with the child.
Start preparing to talk to your child
It is important not to pull the plug on teaching an autistic child to talk. It is recommended that when the child has a vocabulary of 50 or more words, we can begin to teach them short sentences.For example, if your child likes candy, we can teach him to say “I want candy”; if your child doesn’t like milk, we can teach him to say “No”.
At this stage of starting a conversation with your child, you need to practice different ways of speaking with your child, but the content is the same. For example, “I want to eat candy,” “I want to eat candy,” “Can I have candy?” “Can I have a piece of candy, please?” and so on.
The goal of these expressions is to get candy, but they are said in different ways, so we must change the way we teach our children to make requests, so that they can say things more naturally.
Encourage your child and cheer him up!
When children begin to use language, we tend to get hung up on the fact that most of our children’s language is demanding language to meet their basic needs, usually for food, drink or play, but this is a crucial stage in the child’s use of language, when they know how to ask for things.
This is a key stage in the child’s use of language, when he or she can make requests. The next step is to practise marking language, for example, by holding out an object and asking the child what it is. Then you can teach your child to ask questions, such as “Where are we going?” “What is this?” “Whose is this?”
Parents must remember that an autistic child speaking to you is already an important milestone in his integration into society, and what we need to do is to teach the child to talk to himself and communicate with the society in a gradual and step-by-step manner.
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