When your child is on the autism spectrum, they can have a wide range of verbal issues, including being non-verbal. A recent study showed that children who are still non-verbal by age 4 will still grow up and have some form of verbal communication.
As a parent or teacher, you want to know how to teach an autistic child to talk. By encouraging them from an early age to express themselves verbally, you’re improving their chances of developing better communication.
The key is to follow these tips and be patient. It’s difficult to be unable to express your emotions effectively and it can lead to the autistic child to act out. A little patience can go a long way.
How to Teach an Autistic Child to Talk Through Mimicry
When a parent imitates a child, it makes the child want to imitate the parent. By sitting with your child and imitating his play techniques and sounds, then the child can open up to imitate you as well.
It’s important to imitate only positive reactions. For example, if the child hugs a teddy bear, imitate hugging a teddy bear. If the child hits the teddy bear, do not imitate.
If you imitate him, then when you talk, he may eventually imitate you as well.
Keep Them Included in Conversations
When a child is non-verbal or doesn’t wish to speak, it’s easy to leave then out of conversations. If the child isn’t included in conversations, he’ll never develop the confidence and comfort of speaking with people.
If you’re talking to a friend, ask the child what he thinks about a subject. Talk with them when you’re playing. Don’t expect to get an answer, but you’re laying the foundation to develop verbal communication skills.
Use Non-verbal Communication Techniques
Sometimes a child must first be comfortable with non-verbal communication before branching out to verbal. Use your eyes to express emotion and hand gestures to help them understand how to express their needs and emotions.
You can exaggerate the gestures and then use words to tell what the gestures mean. Soon, the child will use the gestures and one day the words for those gestures.
You can also use visual objects such as flashcards to provide more straight forward examples outside of their interests. You can use Adobe Spark’s flashcard maker for this.
Narrate Your Child’s Actions
An autistic child must get used to words and comfortable around speaking. You can help by narrating their actions when playing. The child also learns the words for the actions and objects.
As the actions and objects interest the child, he’ll take a special interest in the words you use to describe them. They’ll be more likely to learn the words if they involve something child enjoys doing as opposed to a more standard learning environment.
Simplify Your Verbal Communication
We’d all love our autistic children to speak full sentences. One day that may be the case, but now we need to work on simple phrases. Sentences can be difficult for a child to process, so instead simply your language to short phrases.
For example, instead of asking, “Please, roll the ball to me,” you can simplify to “roll ball.” This helps the child connect the words to the items and actions without the superfluous other words of the sentence.
Work With Them Daily
Verbal communication is important and if they are able to learn it, then it makes their lives easier. Work with the child daily, but don’t make it a chore. It should be natural. If you want to understand how to teach an autistic child to talk, you must be diligent, but not overwhelming.
For more information about autism and the autism spectrum, please explore our site.