Below are some techniques we learnt to communicate and interact more with our son who was diagnosed with Autism.
We found these techniques made a difference and he responded really well to them.
We hope this information will help other parents who’s children have been recently diagnosed to improve communication and interact with their child.
The techniques we used were a combination of the Hanen ‘More than words’ program and DIRfloortime.
We took time to understand what he was interested in. We got to learn what his sensory preferences were and the reasons why he was drawn to doing certain things. We know now he loves movement and touch so we used this knowledge to turn it into a game..he loves to play chase, peekaboo and tickles with us. Whilst playing with him we simplified our language to made it easier for him to follow what we were saying. For example, if he was playing with a ball we used two words sentences like ball, roll.
We got to know what regulates him and keeps him alert and ready to interact. Things like joint compressions, climbing, swinging and using an OT ball really help him stay calm and regulated. For our son regulation is key and it’s really important he is kept regulated throughout the day and has regular movement breaks.
We tried people games which are a great way to encourage interaction and language development. We did things like singing, nursery rhymes and some gentle horseplay. We positioned ourself so we were facing our son and he could see and hear us easily.
We learnt to leave space for him to communicate. If our son wanted something we tried to pause before giving it to him straight away. This way we were leaving space for him to communicate his needs to us. We waited for any sound or body movement first and then responded. We started a PECs programme to give him another way to communicate his needs to us and understand the power of communication.
We imitated him to show him we were interested in what he was doing and what he does matters! He then also started to imitate us and our shared attention and engagement increased.