(Supplementary to Chapter 8, Say What?, in Autism Spectrum Disorders in the Mainstream Classroom: How to Reach and Teach Students With ASDs)

More Strategies for Supporting Language

Expressive Language

Talk to the Hand: Try playacting conversations using hand puppets, finger puppets, action figures, dolls, or other intermediaries to communication. Without the overlay of social expectations, your students’ language skills may flow more freely when speaking to an inanimate object than to a person.

Put it in Practice: Speak to the speech and language specialist at your school about starting a language-based social skills group or encourage parents or caregivers to seek such a group elsewhere. Trained social skill group providers focus on peer interaction in which pro-social language is specifically facilitated.

Create a Home–School Language Connection: Share specific language strategies with students’ families. Encourage parents and caregivers to use the same responses, signals, and strategies at home that you use at school.

Receptive Language

→Read and Repeat: Many students on the spectrum find books that repeat or build upon the same catchy phrases to be particularly accessible. Students quickly settle into the comfortable rhythms of a book that allows them to predict exactly what will come next. (Check back soon for a list of great repetitive children’s books.)

It’s a What? Students may struggle to abstract meaning out of imprecise communications. Speak mindfully, being as specific as possible to avoid misunderstandings. For example, instead of This is a boy playing soccer, try to be more specific: This is a photograph of a boy playing soccer.


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