Is your typically developing toddler (18-24months old) or minimally verbal child with ASD tight-lipped when it comes to speaking? Fret not! There are reliable ways to get your child to talk. We recommend communication temptations, which involve setting up enticing scenarios that encourage words out of your sweetie. The key, moms and dads, is to not anticipate what Amy desires – you must wait for her to ask for Dora before handing over the doll. When Amy realizes that she can get access to her favourite things with verbal requests, she’ll be motivated to continue chatting. Here’s how to put communication temptations into action to get your child to talk.
How to implement communication temptations
•Set up situations – they should seem as natural as possible — that will allow your child to make requests. Use your kiddo’s preferred toys, foods or activities.
•Amy should be looking at you when she asks for something, so make sure you have her attention before you start tempting her to talk.
•Do not ask Alex what he wants! You don’t want him to think that he has to wait for an adult to ask him. Wait for him to speak. If he errs or doesn’t respond, verbally model what he should say and continue providing opportunities for requesting. When his communication is prompted, give him just a little of his desired food or activity.
•When he asks for something independently, give him more of the preferred item and provide functional praise such as “Sure!” “Of course you can have some!” “I like how you used your words!”
Note: If your child is minimally verbal, expect only an approximation of one word. Once Amy is speaking, increase the length of her requests by adding one word at a time. For example, if Amy can currently say “open,” teach her to say “open door.”
Get Your Child to Talk: Examples of Communication Temptations
Eat a preferred food in front of Alex without offering any to him.
•He must say, “I want ___” before you give him the food.
•Or hold juice in front of Alex as if you are drinking. Again, don’t offer him any. Wait for him to say, “I want juice.”
Play with toys that deactivate.
•Activate a wind-up toy, let it deactivate and hand it to your child. Wait for Amy to say, “Turn it on” or “I want spin.”
•Open a jar of bubbles, blow them, then tightly close the jar. Hand it to your child and wait for her to say, “Blow bubbles.”
Ask Alex to do something but don’t give him what he needs. Wait for him to ask for the item.
•Put paper in front of Alex but hold back the crayons. Tell him to colour. Wait for him to say, “I need crayons.”
•Give Alex an empty cup and tell him to drink his juice. Wait for him to say, “I need juice.”
•Present him with a bowl of ice cream or pudding without a spoon. Wait for him to say, “I need a spoon.”
Present opportunities that require Amy to ask for help.
•Place a desired item in a container that she can’t open, such as a tightly closed jar of bubbles. She must say, “I need help” or “Open the bubbles.”
•Start putting a simple puzzle together. After Amy has put in a few pieces, offer her a piece that doesn’t fit. She should say, “It doesn’t fit” or “I need help.”
•Before going to the park (or another preferred location), stand in front of the closed door with your hand on the doorknob. Your child should request, “Open the door.”
•Instead of rushing to help your child with buttons or zippers, wait for her to say, “Help me” or “Do up the zipper.”
Teach Oh no!
•Involve your child in an activity with a substance that can be easily spilled, such as drinking water or blowing bubbles. Suddenly spill some of the water or bubble solution on the table or floor in front of your child and wait for a comment – model the words the first few times – such as “Oh no,” “Uh oh” or “Oh man.”
Engage in repetitive routines
Establish a pattern of commenting, then leave out a part and wait for a response. For example:
•Hold up a stuffed animal under a table and say “hello” to it when it pops up. Do this 5+ times, then hold up the stuffed animal and wait for your kiddo to say, “hello.”
•Push a train around the track. Each time that it gets to the bridge say, “Choo. Choo.” Do this 5+ times, then stop the train at the bridge and quietly wait for Amy to say, “Choo Choo.”
•Drive a car around and keep gently crashing it into other toy items while saying, “Crash!” Do this 5+ times, then drive the car into something and pause for Alex to say, “Crash.”
Fill in the blanks
•Sing a favourite song and stop before the end of the line. Wait for Amy to fill in the blank.
•Pause before the end of a familiar phrase, such as 1,2,…. (3); Ready, set,….(go).
•Climb the stairs and say, “Up, Up, Up” as you step on each stair. Then pause as you take the next step to encourage Alex to fill in the blank. Similarly, say “Down, down, down” as you descend the stairs, pausing to let him fill in the blank.
•Need more ideas on how to get your child to talk? Join our membership, we’re always happy to help!
Image by Witthaya Phonsawat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net