Autism & Non-verbal Communication

Generally recognized as ASD, Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disorder which could lead to substantial social, communicative and behavioral challenges. The impact of ASD could range from mild to severe and affects individuals despite their race, ethnicity and socioeconomic background.

Children with ASD may encounter difficulties to acquire language skills and comprehending what is being said to them since the intellectual and social growth of children affects their capacity for language and communication. Some children with ASD could be incapable of communicating verbally, while others might have extremely limited speaking abilities and frequently struggle with nonverbal cues including eye contact, facial expressions, and hand movements as well.  Another set of individuals might have broad vocabularies and be able to discuss certain topics in detail.

Children with ASD frequently exhibit repetitive or rigid language, limited interests and extraordinary abilities, inconsistent language development and poor non-verbal communication skills. Some of the strategies that could be employed to understand, support and nurture those who communicate nonverbally are,

  • Pay attention to non-verbal cues – Eye contact and hand gestures, body movements and the tone of voice are unspoken behaviors that can be widely recognized. For instance, the child may smile to showcase happiness, demand attention by pointing, frown as a sign of being unhappy, etc. Exaggeration of gestures could pave the way for building better communication.
  • Developing mutual respect – If you imitate your child’s play sounds and movements, it will encourage increased vocalization and participation while encouraging the child to cooperate and mimic you. As long as your child is acting well, be certain to set a positive example for them.
  • Use flashcards – As generally recommended by therapists, flashcards are one of the best tools which assist in communication for individuals with autism regardless of being verbal or non-verbal. Moreover, flashcards have an impact on memory improvement through practical information retrieval.
  • Consider assistive devices and visual support In addition to replacing speech, assistive technologies and visual aids could accomplish other tasks such as encouraging growth. For example, think of devices and applications with graphics that your youngster can touch to make words. Visual supports can be as simple as individual images or collections of images that your child might utilize to convey needs and ideas.
  • Contemplate the context – When you are communicating with others, always consider the situation and the context in which the communication occurs. It is vital to consider whether non-verbal behavior is appropriate for the context.
  • Simplify the language use – It helps your child to follow what you are saying and makes it easier for them to imitate your speech. Try speaking mostly in individual words if your child is non-verbal. Use simple verbs like “roll ball” or “throw ball” while speaking.

Encouragement of gestures can be a wonderful approach for children with autism to interact with you and others while also promoting language development. Children with impairments, especially those who are autistic, should not experience discrimination or rejection due to their limitations. However, they must be offered more opportunities to engage and communicate through nonverbal means.

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