Social Interaction

"Communication is the most important functional skill that can be taught to any child, including those with autism. As soon as a child is diagnosed with autism, it is beneficial to begin using AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) intervention. Don’t wait for a child to develop speech and then begin to use AAC.

A typically developing child learns to communicate by being immersed in an environment, where other people are using their language to talk to them and talk around them. They choose the words they wish to use from the vast array of language they hear and see used. This is the same for children who are learning an alternative form of language.

There are many symbol systems available and can be presented on both a ‘light-tech’ (paper) version or on a high-tech (technology based) version. It is essential that anyone using a high-tech system also has a low-tech back-up to ensure the symbols are available at all times.

The key step to developing functional communication skills is modeling. This is where adults and peers use an AAC system by pointing to the symbols whilst they are talking to the child."

— Rosie Clarke

Social Narrative

Could your child use more information about how a situation will work? Sometimes it’s easier to understand an experience or event with more information in a short narrative format. This will include what the individual might expect to happen, how they might feel, and how to respond.

Compass Topics

Not everyone wants to talk about the same thing. You might have noticed that your child is more likely to communicate when they are doing something motivating to them. It’s important to have a system that provides a wide library of topics to capture the things that are most important to  your child, without asking them to look at topics that aren’t important to them.

Quickfires and Phrases

Does your child need a way to get your attention? Do they have a way to respond socially in a quick and relevant way with family and friends? Having access to words that are powerful and motivating, like “look” and “come here”, will help your child begin a more frequent social interaction and support them in keeping up with the social talk of others.

Video modeling

Some children are helped by seeing what others are doing to complete a task or participate in an activity. Can you imagine times where you’d like to use that strategy with video clips of the individual themselves to help them learn how to complete a task or participate? Video modeling is a great strategy that gives the individual a chance to imitate a model and then start using that skill in their own environment.

Scripts

Does your child try to communicate socially, but struggle with the appropriate back and forth dialogue in a social situation? Scripts can be helpful to teach the elements of dialogue around a topic and then allow for them to learn how to expand them in future opportunities.  Scripts also provide a way to share stories and personal information (for example, vacation plans or what happened this weekend) in a well organized format that gives them the right words for an efficient exchange.

Social skills training

Every now and then your child might struggle with social skills and needs some extra support in developing those skills. In those situations, access to a fun, easy-to-use, and engaging online program for children with social learning challenges may help. Training in this area should address important social-emotional skills students need to successfully navigate our social world.

Personalized photos and messages

Do you find that your child is more engaged and interested when looking at photos and messages that reflect the real people and things in their life? Of course! It’s important to have a system that can be customized with photos and messages to give the individual a stronger motivation to interact!

Wide library of topics

Not everyone wants to talk about the same thing. You might have noticed that your child is more likely to communicate when they are doing something motivating to them. It’s important to have a system that provides a wide library of topics to capture the things that are most important to  your child, without asking them to look at topics that aren’t important to them.

Use premade topics to get started or create topics that are completely customized to your child.

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