Autism specialists can help parents restructure the home environment to create learning opportunities. For example, many children with autism have trouble using speech to make requests. An autism expert might advise a parent to place certain objects, such as preferred snacks, within view of the child, yet out of reach. This may encourage the child to get into the habit of requesting items. Initially, the child may only point at the item. Over time, he or she may learn to say the item’s name and later, to phrase the request in a complete sentence.
Parents can use similar tricks to help their children learn new vocabulary words. Many children with autism are visual learners. Parents can introduce new words and reinforce old words by narrating their own actions. For example, when parents pick up a child, they can say, “Up!” When they hand a child a juice bottle or snack, they can name the item out loud. This technique even works with flashcards. A parent might hold up a flashcard with the word, “Jump,” while saying the word and jumping up and down.
The Behavior Exchange offers behavior classes based on the evidence-based practices of Applied Behavior Analysis. Families in the Dallas area can call (214) 556-3947 for more information.