Best Way to Teach Communication Skills to Children on the Autism Spectrum

“What would be the best way to teach communication skills to my 4 year old son with high functioning autism?”

These skills are best taught by a communication specialist with an interest in pragmatics in speech. Alternatively, social training groups may be used if there are enough opportunities for the child with High Functioning Autism or Asperger's to have one-on-one contact with the instructor and for the practicing of specific skills.

Teaching often includes the following: 
  • Verbal decoding of nonverbal behaviors of others
  • Social awareness
  • Processing of visual information along with auditory information in order to facilitate the creation of the appropriate social context of the interaction
  • Appropriate nonverbal behavior (e.g., the use of gaze for social interaction, monitoring and patterning of inflection of voice, etc.). This may involve imitative drills, working with a mirror, and so on.
  • Correct interpretation of ambiguous communications (e.g., non-literal language)
  • Perspective-taking skills

If possible, try to consult with a speech-language pathologist. These professionals are trained to teach language and communication skills.

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