Children living with autism can have difficulty communicating their feelings and emotions. For some, this can come across as being shy or anti-social. In others, it can lead to negative outbursts when they become frustrated at attempting to communicate. If your child lives with autism, you may ask yourself what non-verbal communication skills are and how they can help your child better communicate their needs. Speech therapy for children with autism can help them learn how to share with others through non-verbal communication.
At Camp Worth, we help teens 11 to 17 years of age living with autism in our warm and inviting facility in Fort Worth, TX. We offer functional skills training and autism parent training programs to help everyone in the family learn how to communicate and better understand your child with autism. But, what are non-verbal communication skills? If you need help understanding non-verbal communication skills for children with autism, complete our online form or call 855.915.2545 today to learn more about our speech therapy for children with autism.
What Are Non-Verbal Communication Skills?
So, what are non-verbal communication skills? Research estimates that thirty percent of children living with autism use only a few words or have no verbal communication skills. This can make communicating with your child with autism very frustrating for you and your child, especially when frustration leads to negative behavior from them and the parent or sibling.
Children living with autism do not know how to tell you something hurts or that they are thirsty or hungry. They may not even be able to point to something they want or indicate what hurts on their body. At Camp Worth, our speech therapy for children with autism can help teach your child how to better communicate through verbal and non-verbal communication skills. We will also help you learn the skills and tips you need to help your child with our autism parent training program.
Ways to Practice Communicating with Your Non-Verbal Child with Autism
Our Camp Worth team has made a list of tips for working with your child living with autism that you can practice at home to improve their non-verbal communication skills for children with autism. These tips include:
- Interactive play – Playing is an excellent way for children with autism to learn. Label favorite toys and repeat the name when handing them to them, or they point to it. Also, label toys, colors, and other objects and repeat the names when they use each one.
- Give options – Provide different games, activities, and mealtimes to find which they like the most. Let them choose which toy or activity they want to do. Try to include activities that involve socializing if it is not too overwhelming.
- Focus on non-verbal communication – Practice gesturing and eye contact along with speaking, like nodding your head while saying yes or pointing to an object and saying the name.
- Encourage imitation – While playing, imitate their behavior, including gesturing and sounds. Imitating their behavior encourages paying attention, and the more you do it, the more they will learn.
- Use simple language for feelings and activities – As you work with your child, when they reach for something like a toy or glass of water, as you are handing it to them, say the name out loud while making eye contact.
- Let them set the pace – If your child feels frustrated or anxious, they will not concentrate on what you are saying. Listen and observe their behavior, so you can begin picking up on what interests them the most and what techniques work the best.
Repetition is a great learning tool for children with autism. Practicing these non-verbal communication skills every day will improve their behavior and your home life.
Help Your Child with Non-Verbal Communication Skills at Camp Worth
At Camp Worth, we understand that helping your child communicate their feelings through non-verbal communication is vital to their development and happiness. Our functional skills training program and family counseling programs will help you and your child practice non-verbal communication skills to build confidence and self-esteem. If you have questions about non-verbal communication skills and how they can help you and your child living with autism, call 855.915.2545 today to speak with our caring support staff or fill out our convenient online form.