Jul 04 , 2022
I recently had this question posed to me in our Chat room.
This is a common question and an even more common thing than we probably know.
So, I decided to do a little bit of research.
Knowing that every child with autism is different and every non verbal child with autism is different, leads us to know that there is no one size that fits all but there are a few consistent things that we can consider.
Whether it be a toy, a game or a specifically designed tool for communication, everything may help. That is to know, that the best thing we can do is try, experiment and expand our thinking. Remaining open to new ideas, building on what works and even re-visiting what didn't work in the beginning might work the next time.
It is really important to introduce these children to toys and products that demonstrate cause and effect to encourage discussion with what they think is happening.
At first they may not be able to answer orally and maybe prefer pointing to the answers. After some repetitive interactions, this can lead to oral replies.
Games with questions and answers are a good example of this.
This is what we know.
It is essential to help kids and adults who are non verbal to use products that allow them to show their feelings and you can achieve this with therapy, love and toys.
A child who is non verbal will benefit from products that encourage the following;
This shows the child's interaction with people
This shows how the child learns and thinks
This depicts the understanding of the child to what he hears
This is what the child uses to communicate, whether is is through words or gestures.
SO...what sorts of products will help encourage communication?
- Audio toys with sounds that the child can imitate
- Flash cards to encourage matching pictures to feelings
- Puzzles or toys that give an audio reward when the goal is achieved
- sensory products with cards to help the child to match feelings and words to what they are feeling.
- Open ended building and construction toys to assist the child to describe what they have made. This encourages the feeling that there is no wrong answer and allows them to take chances in their discovery and learning.
What are the three types of toys or products that do the 'trick"?
To enhance proprioception
- find toys like jump rope. modelling clay, weighted balls, bean bags and weighted toys that provide a hugging sensation
To strengthen the vestibular sense
- try toys that rock, spin, swing or involve motion like a compression swing, hanging nest or tent, swinging saucer
To practice tactile stimulation
- use toys with different textures like finger paints, play scarves, sand toys and water toys
Even though it takes some children a while to learn, most autistic kids eventually speak. It is true, that there are those that end up being non verbal but it doesn't necessarily mean that they can't communicate.
Many non verbal kids are really pre verbal and need help to communicate verbally. Behavioral therapy and specific toys designed to encourage communication can make a huge difference.