Communication is an essential part of every day life. It is the base of most all of our relationships and it forms every interaction we have. For most people, communication comes easy. We use words, body language, and facial expressions every single day and most times without thought. For children with autism, communication, both verbal and non-verbal, is often an extremely hard concept. This barrier can effect the child socially, academically, and emotionally.
People who have this difficulty with language can struggle verbally and non-verbally, unable to express their wants and needs as well as unable to make eye contact or understand hand gestures. This can be very frustrating. Imagine wanting a drink but unable to ask for it. While this is the case, you will also notice repetitive patterns of language and narrow interests for those who exhibit verbal language.
An example of repetitive language is if you were to say, “How are you?” and instead of answering, the child responds with the same question. Another example is when a favorite quote from a TV show or movie is repeated over and over again and is used completely out of context. For some, there are definitely some language skills present but they are not at the normal level of ability.
Narrow interests are present in some children with autism and are seen when a child can talk continuously about something that holds their interests but are unable to carry on a simple two-way conversation.
There are many ways to practice and teach language as well as many devices and visual aids that can help a child express their needs. Later on the blog we will discuss different academic tips as well as devices and programs that enhance language for those who have trouble communicating.