Children with Autism are known to have a very limited vocabulary.
This being said, when giving instructions or asking them to do something, ask them in the most simplest and most direct form. For example, don’t say ‘Hang it over there’. This will make the child with autism confused because to them, they don’t know what ‘it’ is, or what ‘there’ is either. They won’t understand the meaning of those words so instead, say ‘Hang your coat over by the door’. This would be so much easier for them to understand because they know that they have to put THEIR COAT by the DOOR. Children with Autism take things literally so the second example would make life so much easier for both child and parent/sibling/others. It’s simple, and directive.
But with my brother not being able to say actual words and just babbling when he does say something, even speaking in sentences seem useless. Sometimes, you think ‘Why even try?’, but the thing is, YOU HAVE TO TRY. Having a negative attitude will get you no where. You have to try, you have to be able to think and believe that if you keep trying, they’ll be able to understand. And soon, they’ll pick up on it. We were told by staff and others to say the word when performing an action. This is so that the child would be able to put the meaning behind the word. So when my brother comes up to me and puts his arms up because he wants me to pick him up high, I have to say ‘Up’. So the next time he hears the word, he’ll know what ‘Up’ is- maybe not straight away but perhaps in the near future. It’s situations like these were I feel as though using a word rather than sentences is better for him, so he’ll be able to understand a word rather than a jar filled with words he can’t relate to. (at this point, I don’t know if I’m making sense but if you understood it, 10 gold stars to you!- no sarcasm intended, I’m serious)
However, I sometimes think that maybe in some cases actions speak louder than words. For example, when I want my brother to come to me, I flick my hands towards me when I have his attention, and he does come to me and I hug him in return as a reward for him understanding. Though, times like these I don’t know what words to use. ‘Here’ is the one that comes to my mind but I still think that word would confuse him but I guess it wouldn’t hurt to try 🙂
I’ll end this post here. I’ll be honest, I can’t remember the point I was trying to make but I guess the point was, with and autistic sibling- don’t bombard them with truckloads of words they won’t be able to understand. Keep it simple.