HELP FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH ASPERGER'S & HIGH-FUNCTIONING AUTISM

Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders

Search MyAspergersChild.com

Developing Your Autistic Child's Communication Skills

"Any tips on helping my child with autism to be more verbal?"

Although the cause of speech and language problems in autism is unknown, many experts believe that the difficulties are caused by a variety of conditions that occur either before, during, or after birth affecting brain development. This interferes with a child's ability to interpret and interact with the world.

The communication problems of autism vary, depending upon the intellectual and social development of the child. Some may be unable to speak, whereas others may have rich vocabularies and are able to talk about topics of interest in great depth. Most have difficulty effectively using language. Many also have problems with word and sentence meaning, and understanding.

No one treatment method has been found to successfully improve communication in all kids who have autism. The best treatment begins early, during the preschool years, and is geared towards the individual.

The goal of therapy should be to improve useful communication. For some, verbal communication is a realistic goal. For others, the goal may be gestured communication. Still others may have the goal of communicating by means of a symbol system such as picture boards.

A lack of communication skills may cause inappropriate behaviors and challenging situations for both the child and parent. The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is an augmentative communication system developed to help kids quickly acquire a functional means of communication. PECS is appropriate for children who do not use speech or who may speak with limited effectiveness (i.e., those who have articulation or motor planning difficulties, limited communicative partners, or a lack of initiative in communication). PECS has a number of advantages over other methods of addressing communication. Most importantly, it works, which encourages the child to communicate more often, reducing frustrating situations.

When your child hands you a picture or sentence strip, you can easily understand what they are trying to communicate with you. From the start, communication is initiated by your child, making it meaningful and highly motivating. It is an inexpensive communication system.

A PECS symbol can be as simple as a hand-drawn picture, or a snapshot. The child is able to communicate with anyone, versus sign language. Anyone willing to accept a picture is available, not just those who understand sign language or who are familiar enough with the child to understand him/her. Children are able to generalize communication to a wide variety of situations and people.

A uniform system for using Velcro fasteners on your symbols, boards, and books needs to be established. This will ensure that all of your PECS symbols can be used with any of the boards or books within the child's environment.

If the child doesn't eventually develop speech, printed words will likely be a more convenient and natural means of communication down the road than pictures alone. Also, we want to encourage reading in every child, and pairing words in a system that likely will become very motivating for a child might help hasten acquisition of those printed words.

The efficacy of various types of symbols may have to be tested with your child. Some kids can better interpret photographs, because they look more like the actual activity or object that the picture represents. Others may find all the colors and visual elements of a photograph too distracting or difficult to decode, and may find a simple black-line drawing easier to use. 

There are many apps for the iPad and iPhone that help tremendously with an autistic child's language and communication challenges. A wonderful list of the most popular ones can be viewed on www.Best-Autism-Apps.com.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A friend with an autistic son keeps animals around. He says that his son is forced to talk to communicate with the animals and figure out what they want.

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the Aspergers child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually. Thus, the best treatment for Aspergers children and teens is, without a doubt, “social skills training.”

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Aspergers Children

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and the Asperger’s child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Aspergers Teens

Although Aspergers is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager with Aspergers are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the Aspergers teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

Click here to read the full article…

Aspergers Children “Block-Out” Their Emotions

Parenting children with Aspergers and HFA can be a daunting task. In layman’s terms, Aspergers is a developmental disability that affects the way children develop and understand the world around them, and is directly linked to their senses and sensory processing. This means they often use certain behaviors to block out their emotions or response to pain.

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children With Aspergers Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with Aspergers face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

Click here to read the full article…

Living with an Aspergers Spouse/Partner

Research reveals that the divorce rate for people with Aspergers is around 80%. Why so high!? The answer may be found in how the symptoms of Aspergers affect intimate relationships. People with Aspergers often find it difficult to understand others and express themselves. They may seem to lose interest in people over time, appear aloof, and are often mistaken as self-centered, vain individuals.

Click here to read the full article…

My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content