Autism is a unique spectrum disorder, meaning there is a wide range of variations in the type and severity of symptoms. Therefore parents with autistic children are encouraged to broaden their communication skills to give their kids the care and support they require.
Children with ASD often have trouble expressing their needs. This is primarily due to their brains being over or understimulated by their environment. Naturally, they will react to the stimulus by either shutting down or having a meltdown.
If you’re a parent of an autistic child, visit the actionbehavior.com site to learn more about your child and how to be more supportive.
In the meantime, here are five parenting tips to effectively communicate and engage with your child.
When dealing with autistic children, patience is a virtue. They need more time to process information. Therefore, it is crucial that you give them enough time to respond.
Experts suggest that you wait a good number of seconds for a child to respond while expectantly looking them in the eyes. Do not tempt to fill silent interims by asking more questions, changing the topic, or walking away.
According to health experts, most people with ASD have higher visual than auditory processing skills. Therefore, replacing spoken words with visible gestures could be a more effective way of communicating with your child.
Most children with autism will develop their own language. It is better to learn their language than force them to learn a new one. However, you can try to introduce some common sign language words or phrases as these are often very easy to understand.
Everybody loves positive reinforcement. Hearing compliments or receiving congratulatory tokens is a great way to boost morale. This works the same, if not better, with autistic children.
Rewarding your child for doing something well affirms that they have done something good, thus inducing positive feelings. Keep in mind that you do not always have to give a physical token. Clapping your hands or signing a song is enough to make them feel loved and appreciated.
Like using visible gestures, cue cards are a brilliant way to communicate non-verbally. Research suggests that visual cues increase social language and reciprocal communication. Parents can use homemade cues written on paper cards or download an app on their phones.
When using cue cards, you can request that your child nod or shake their head in agreement or refusal.
Although it may be a bold step, encouraging your child to make friends by engaging them in social activities with their peers is an excellent way to improve their communication skills.
Many ASD treatment programs have started pairing autistic kids with slightly older kids for playdates. This helps them to engage and interact with their environment as they see other kids do. Older kids also have a nurturing and mothering attitude towards them.
Communication is a crucial skill for any child to develop. It allows them to interact with society and the environment effectively.
However, it is also a common issue for autistic kids. Thus parents must inform themselves about the various techniques they can use to help their children develop this skill. Spending uninterrupted one-on-one time with your kids is also helpful.