When you have an autistic child, they tend not to speak. Actually, they tend to develop slower than all the other children in your block and this can really get on your nerves especially if you are a first time parent who is hell bent on having their kids develop like all the other kids in the neighbourhood. But when the kid is diagnosed with autism, it really gets you upset and you really do not know how to deal with this.
In this post, we look at ways that you can help your nonverbal kid speak. But before that, we need to look at pointers that show that your child has verbal problems:
- Does not maintain eye contact
- Does not mimic you
- Does not babble words or show interest in doing so
- Does not follow gestures or make any on their own
- Tends to play alone and avoids all social interactions with others
- Has echolalia at an age where all the other kids are speaking and chatting away animatedly
- Preoccupied with lone play
Some of the above signs are good indicators of autism as explained on www.blazingheartautism.org however, you need to ask an occupational therapist or special needs teacher to assess your child so that it is well established what kind of problem they are having.
Once you have established that they have nonverbal autism, you can help them in the following ways to develop speech:
- Get them toys that have speakers and will spike imitation. This website has already listed some of the best toys for nonverbal autism so that you can peruse and even head on to buy. When using the toys, once the child has learnt all the sounds, you can remove all the batteries so that the child makes the sounds on their own.
- Encourage them to respond–as you interact with the kiddo, encourage them to make communications and always wait for their responses for any questions that you raise or anytime you need them to say something. You can do this by looking intentively at them and waiting for them to make some sounds
- One word at a time–when teaching your kid how to speak, take them one word at a time. Never two words but one until they master it. You can for example teach them on words about emotions for example ‘sad’, ‘happy’, ‘excited’ and use cards that have the said expressions. Then when the kid learns to say the words and connects them to the expressions, you can head on to to words and then a phrase of words.
- Imitate the kid–when the child is speaking, even if it might be a babble, imitate it so that they can feel appreciated.