Autism affects a child’s communication skills extensively. This neuro-developmental disorder makes it difficult for the child to use verbal and non-verbal communication cues to express themselves or respond to questions. It is important for such children to be educated and trained by using their dormant communication abilities to improve their social, behavioral and peer-interaction skills effectively.
What are the communication problems seen in children with Autism?
There are several types of communication problems in children with Autism. From failing to learn the language to an inability to interact with others, children with Autism show varying degrees of communication disabilities.
Let us understand some common verbal and non-verbal communication problems in children with Autism:
Slow learning of language and speech
Research shows that over 40% of children affected with Autism tend never to speak at all. There is a significant delay or slow learning of speech and language. Due to the abnormal functioning of the parts of the brain which control communication, the child finds it difficult to learn a language. Even if the child learns the language, their vocabulary remains very restricted.
Non-verbal cues are said to be more vital for effective communication than the verbal talks. The body language also helps us to understand the true aim of expressing the opinion or suggestion by another person. A child affected with Autism is unable to identify and recognize non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions, body language, hand gestures, etc. and hence, finds it impossible to respond to even simple questions.
Other communication problems faced by children with Autism
Due to the inability to learn the language and improve vocabulary, a child affected with autism finds it difficult to start and maintain a conversation. The child is also likely to be obsessed with a particular word or phrase which they keep repeating.
How to teach communication skills to children with Autism?
It is important that the child affected with Autism should learn the basic language and speech to communicate their needs and moods effectively. There are certain factors that help in the better teaching of communication skills to children with Autism, such as:
- Improving non-verbal communication skills
- Using simple language
- Giving them ample response time
- Using words and phrases which interest the child
- Imitating the child’s speech pattern
- Encouraging social interaction
- Using visual and other assistive devices
These tips will be extremely helpful in teaching communication skills to children with Autism and helping them lead a better social life.