How To Promote Speech In A Nonverbal Child With Autism:

How To Promote Speech In A Nonverbal Child With Autism:

My son was nonverbal until age three and verbal until age five as needed. He is now sixteen years old and speaks fluently. Here are ten things I did to encourage his speech:

1. Expose him to only one language (based on the child psychiatrist’s suggestion). Our mother tongue is Marathi but we chose English so she can communicate outside of the house. We spoke in English, we read books in English, we listened to songs in English and we watched cartoons in English. We made it our mission not to expose him to any other language while learning.

2. Make a running commentary on everything I’ve done throughout the day. For example, I will make you a glass of milk. Now I open the cupboard (point to cupboard) and take out a glass (point to glass), and place it on the kitchen counter

(point to counter). Now I open the fridge (point to the fridge), take out the container full of milk (point to the container and the milk inside), and pour the milk into the glass (point to the action).

3. Talk to him like an adult.

4. Ask him questions and encourage him (but don’t force him) to answer

5. Convert one-word answers into complete sentences. For example: If he said “water” to ask for water, I would ask him “Would you like water to drink?” and wait for an answer. If he nodded, it would encourage him to respond verbally, “Yes?” and wait for an answer. If he answers “yes,” I would elaborate on his answer and tell him that the correct way to ask for water is to say, “I want water to drink.”

6. Concept creation and connections. For example: “Why do you want to drink water? Is it because you’re thirsty?” This helped him associate the feeling of thirst with the word “thirsty” and established the concept that when he was thirsty he felt the need to drink water.

7. Allow him to ask for things before you give them to him.8. Use your interests to frame you. My son was crazy about cars (he still is) so we used his interest in cars to expand his vocabulary and encourage him to speak. We talked about cars, read books about cars, watching movies about cars, and told him stories about cars.

9. Show him illustrated books and explain what is happening in the pictures.

10. Read him books.