I am JM, a proud AIMS Global therapist, with my experience talking and listening to parents with kids under the spectrum, the top priority that they want to achieve is for their children to communicate. They want their kids to speak up and request for the things that they want, in whatever mode the child feels most comfortable with. Some of them are stressed, feel hopeless at times and some are frustrated. We can’t blame parents if they only see that their kids are crying, whining and even just pulling their hands if they want something, not knowingly in that behavior we can provide an opportunity to impart the child how to communicate.
“I am not a magician” is my favourite tagline every time I will receive a new family to work with, to lessen their expectations and for them to be amazed in the progress that the child can do in every step of the way. With this, let me share some of my strategies to develop communication skills.
First, build rapport and let the child feel comfortable with your presence. I am not a magician, but I make sure to let the child feel that I am the giver of happiness and with that, session time will be relaxed and full of positivity.
Second, always remember the word OWL and it stands for Observe, Wait and Listen.
O – Observe the child’s interests. Know them by heart while collecting data, list down all his/her favourites’ ex. (food, toys and play) you can also list down all the possible materials that the child doesn’t like. This data will have an enormous part in training communication skills.
W – Wait and Create Opportunity. Knowing your child’s interests can help you create opportunities and you can straightforwardly teach them how to imitate sounds and it will probably help the child to express their needs and wants.
L – Listen to every sound that your child can produce, list down and think of functional activities considering their interest, with that probability to produce sounds and communicate are high.
Lastly, trust the process, difficult roads are ahead, interests can change in an instant, be creative, play with passion and be amazed like magic! Everything will follow and every word that the child produces is like an “abracadabra” that surprises me. All the hard work will pay off when you hear them talk or communicate in a different way.
-JM, proud AIMS Global therapist and best friend to the young child he is working with in Jakarta