How is communication addressed in the home environment?


Much of the stress in the home environment revolves around the child's lack of communication skills. Developing ways to facilitate communication will help ease the stress greatly. Part of the focus when working with autism in the home environment is to find ways to express his wants and needs effectively. Once the child is able to communicate effectively, there is greater chance that negative behavior and tantrums will decrease. Much of the negative behavior that is exhibited in the home environment can be linked to frustration and the inability to communicate. Specific interventions that address communication deficits include sign language, the Picture Exchange Communication System and verbal cues.

  • Verbal cues are direct and succinct, consisting of one or two words that are familiar to the child. Common verbal cues are: stop, wait, no, yes, more and all done.

  • The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) has yielded great results in many home environments. Families can use the images to help the child transition and complete daily activities like bathing. The PECS can be used as a way for the child to initiate communication as well. The child simply exchanges a picture for the desired object. The PECS approach works well because it is concrete and visual in nature.

  • Sign language is another visual approach that helps facilitate communication in the home environment. Sign language does require some gross and fine motor skills and will need to be taught systematically so the child makes a connection between the sign and the consequence for using the sign.

In some cases, families choose to use augmentative devices that aid in communication in the home environment as well. These mid technologies can be very useful in facilitation communication.

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