Children with autism need means of communication, because it allows them to advocate for their wants and needs, improves self-expression, enhances learning comprehension, and generates growth in social development. Essentials for enhancing communication include:
- A well-designed strategy
- An approach that aligns with your child’s needs and strengths
- Proper communication tools and supports
Taking steps to establish better communication as a behavioral objective is a powerful complement to any learning plan. Below are some effective communication strategies that may help your child with autism communicate more effectively!
Utilize Picture Cards to Begin Communicating Wants and Needs
A common misconception is that picture cards are only a tool used with children who are nonverbal. These helpful illustrations can be a resource for any child during times of high frustration or when working on articulation. Utilizing picture cards or other alternative modes of communication may inspire an increase in verbal requests! Below are some tips for using picture cards.
- A picture card book is a great way to empower your child to express their needs and wants. Some specific communication uses include:
- Requesting their preferred snacks and drinks
- Asking for help or to take a break
- Asking questions
- Answering questions during conversation
- If a picture card book isn’t feasible, place picture cards strategically around the house.
- Hang magnetic picture cards on the refrigerator for your child to select a drink.
- Place cards near the pantry to engage your child about their preferred snack.
- Keep cards near your television to encourage your child to choose their favorite TV shows.
- Involve more people as communication partners for your child that offer reinforcement by using picture cards. Our autism therapy in West Chester, PA encourages children to make appropriate requests by building in a picture card communication strategy into sessions.
Empower a Lifetime of Effective Communication With Sign Language
Many children with autism struggle with vocal communication, but sign language can connect the dots of communication. This approach can help children effectively convey their needs, feelings, and desires.
It’s never too early to start learning to sign. Similar to picture cards, sign language can be a wonderful complement to other forms of communication. Whether certain sounds are hard to vocalize, or a child is feeling uncomfortable in a new social situation, the ability to express ideas with simple gestures can lead to prosperity in expression and reduced frustration in learning.
Sign language not only offers communication benefits but can help children with occupational therapies! Our autism services in Paoli, PA integrate sign language exercises with developmental goals such as improved motor coordination.
Consider Alternative Communication Options
Alternative communication solutions like speech-assistive devices and communication boards have redefined accessible communication. Thanks to technology, we are no longer limited by the constraints of our vocal cords or hands. Many of the best assistive communication devices are now both affordable and readily accessible.
There are a variety of options for alternative communication that may help your child thrive! There is technology such as hand-held speech devices that can generate complex sentences or simple letter boards that pronounce the alphabet.
Effective communication strategies are more impactful when paired with a balanced behavior plan. At Helping Hands Family, the goal of our ABA therapy in Paoli, PA, and the rest of our clinics, is to empower our clients and families, which includes personalized communication strategies that drive personal growth!