Communicating with children is an essential part of their upbringing, as it develops their ability to comprehend and socialize. But it’s important to note that communication is a two-way process, and if your child does not respond to you at all, this can hinder his or her overall ability to speak.
In fact, current statistics suggest that 30 percent of children suffering from autism spectrum disorder remain nonverbal even after years of interventional treatment. But this should not stop you from trying to get through to your child.
Hope for A Better Future
In 2013, a group of scientists at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders in Baltimore compiled information on 535 children with autism aged 8 to 17 who possessed language delays.
They found that 47 percent eventually became fluent speakers, and 70 percent could speak in simple phrases. This is proof that despite their condition, children with language delays can develop speaking skills. But to develop your child’s verbal aptitude, you have to employ key strategies that encourage them to speak.
The Benefits of Increased Playtime
Simply increasing the frequency by which you socialize with your child can positively affect his or her communication skills.
One way to increase interaction is through more playtime. Renowned experts, such as Fromberg and Gullo, believe that play boosts language skills and even develop thinking ability. The strategy does not end at raising the frequency of interaction through more playtime; you also have to mimic what they do.
Autism Speaks posits that imitating your child’s vocal tics and play behavior can increase vocalization. This will encourage your child to copy you as well, but be mindful of what actions you mimic. Only imitate good behavior to discourage unpleasant ones.
Be Mindful of Body Language
While your goal is to get your child to speak, practicing nonverbal communication can still bridge the gap between being uncommunicative to being vocal.
The premise behind being mindful of body language is simple; if your child is making gestures, do the gestures back and accompany those with easy words.
For example, if your child is pointing to a toy, hand it over to your child and say “toy.”
Use Assistive Devices
You can also use technology as a way to enhance your child’s verbal ability. There are easy-to-use mobile apps that help patients with autism and other developmental disorders improve their language skills.
One such app is Sight Words. The app simply flashes words from the Dolch Word list classified from kindergarten-level to 3rd grade to help learners develop proficiency in speaking.
Another useful app is Prose, an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) app that allows taps, swipes, and simple shapes to vocalize custom phrases clearly in over 40 languages and dialects. It’s perfect for anyone with verbal communication troubles, like children with ASD.
As a supplementary program to the remedies above, we at ABC-Pediatrics offer Speech Therapy sessions that will ensure observable changes in your child’s verbal ability.
Our Speech Therapy program can help correct various speech dilemmas to ensure confidence in your child’s speaking ability. We enhance your child’s receptive, expressive, and pragmatic language skills as well as improve their literacy, articulation, and voice. We also correct hearing impairments and dysfluency (stuttering) for all-around skill.
We deliver programs that change our patients’ lives. We believe that there’s a well of potential in every child, regardless of their condition. And what we do here is help you and your child tap into that potential and maximize it.