Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) affect children in different ways. Often, children with autism display language deficits, such as delayed language development. For example, a child may develop a broad vocabulary at an early age, yet have trouble associating the words with their meanings. These types of autism symptoms can make it difficult for children to progress in school. Difficulty with communication can also reduce quality of life for the child and the family. At an ABA school , an autism therapist can help children strengthen their communication skills.
Delays in language development are one of the possible indicators of autism. By the time a child is six months old, he or she may begin babbling. By 12 months, he or she may begin saying very simple words, such as “da-da” or “uh-oh.” And just one year later, children typically begin saying simple, short phrases and speaking about 50 words or more. Autism can cause children to experience delays in speech and language acquisition , which means they may not meet these milestones.
A child begins to learn communication skills well before he or she can speak. Infants absorb knowledge of language by listening to their caregivers. Babies also learn to recognize the nonverbal cues of language, such as their parents’ facial expressions, eye gaze, body language, and tone of voice. For children with autism, social communication may be difficult and they may have trouble interpreting these nonverbal cues.
When children with autism do develop speech skills, they may use them differently than typically developing children. Children with autism may engage in echolalia, which is the repetition of words that have no contextual meaning. For example, a parent may instruct a child to “Put the bananas in the cart,” while at the grocery store. The child may immediately begin to repeat this sentence over and over again, which is known as immediate echolalia. Or, he or she may repeat this sentence at a later time, which is delayed echolalia.
At The Behavior Exchange, we use specialized teaching methods that help children develop skills in the areas of speech and language, self-help, age-appropriate play, and many more. Parents can schedule a meeting with an ABA therapist near Plano by calling (888) 716-8084. We also encourage you to visit our website to read more about our evidence-based autism services, including parent training and school advocacy.