Many children with autism have problems talking to themselves in everyday life.Some parents may think it is a minor problem and won’t pay much attention to it while some parents want to intervene with their children but they don’t know how to start.
So this time, we will discuss with parents the reasons why children talk to themselves and the intervention suggestions for children talking to themselves.
Parents can “start with the root cause” of their child’s behavioral problems. There are several common reasons why children talk to themselves.
On the one hand, due to the social problems of children with autism, when children want attention but don’t know how to communicate with others, they talk to themselves to get the attention of those around them.
On the other hand, when children want to avoid an activity or task, they do so by talking to themselves. If a parent arranges a study task for a child, the child will keep repeating some meaningless language to escape.
Also, self-talk is one of the manifestations of self-stimulating behavior in children with autism. For example, when children arrive at an unfamiliar environment, they will stimulate themselves by talking to themselves to reduce their inner anxiety or relieve stress. When children face difficult tasks, they also engage in self-stimulating self-talking behavior due to their internal anxiety and stress. Therefore, parents should observe their children when they are with them in order to find out why they talk to themselves.
So, how can parents intervene with their children when they understand the cause of their self-talking behavior?
First, for children who talk to themselves to get attention, parents can work on their children’s ability to express their needs correctly.
For example, parents can show their child how to express their needs correctly and then explain how to do so, or they can help their child understand and learn how to express their needs correctly through picture books or cue cards with relevant content.
Second, for children who avoid tasks or activities by talking to themselves, parents can help and guide the child to complete the task or activity while respecting the child’s wishes. If the child just doesn’t want to do the task or activity, parents need to teach the child how to say it correctly, such as “don’t” or “don’t do”.
For children who see self-talk as a self-stimulating behavior, parents need to help their child learn to express his or her needs, but they also need to pay attention to the child’s mood changes and channel and comfort the child’s negative emotions in a timely manner. We can improve children’s self-talking behavior by setting relevant goals.
For example, if a child talks to himself/herself for 5 minutes in daily life, parents can set a goal for the child. For example, the child can be quiet for 1 minute in 5 minutes. When the child does this, the parent can gradually increase the target (quiet) time as appropriate for the child, thereby reducing the child’s behavior of talking to himself in this manner.
Finally, parents are advised to accompany their children to the outside environment as much as possible in their daily life, create more opportunities for their children to come into contact with children of the same age, and encourage their children to interact with other children to promote the transformation of their internal language.
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