One of the primary goals of parents of children with autism is to help your child communicate with others in a meaningful way. Research has shown that when parents interact with their children in ways that serve to encourage and support communication, they can make a significant difference in their child’s social and communication development.
The ability to communicate with others is one of our most essential skills, and it’s also one that many of us take for granted. The ability to communicate allows us to connect with others and create new relationships. We can make our wants known, share our thoughts and let other people know how we feel.
Communication begins long before we learn to talk. In the first few months of life, babies show their interest in communicating by listening to the voices of others and and looking people’s faces when they talk, and then engaging in back-and-forth babbling games with their parents. These exchanges of sounds and smiles between an infant and his caregiver are the baby’s first conversations, even though he or she has never spoken a word.
For children on the Autism Spectrum, communication develops quite differently and more slowly. The sensory challenges associated with Autism often result in more interest in environmental sounds, like the whirring of a fan or vacuum than in the sound of people talking. Individuals with autism often seem distracted or even seem not to hear what others say. First words are often delayed and, when some children do start talking, their first words can be atypical, or unusual (like numbers) or they may simply echo others.
Research has continually shown that with early speech therapy intervention, there is much that can be done to improve the communication skills of children on the autism spectrum. The important people in the life of a child with autism have the power to make all kinds of learning, including communication, much easier for that child.
The More Than Words Program focuses on your natural, day-to-day life with your child. You’ll discover how to take everyday activities like meal time, story time and bath time and use them to help your child improve his communication and social skills. And you’ll have fun together while you’re doing it!
I have found that the More Than Words® guidebook and companion DVD has been extremely useful to families of children with autism. The curriculum outlines straightforward strategies that can be used during daily routines and activities to help children with autism interact more meaningfully with others and experience less frustration. The More Than Words program can help your child to better understand language, social skills, and the ability to engage in back-and-forth interactions.
The More Than Words Program was designed specifically for parents of children ages 5 and under on the autism spectrum. Addressing the unique needs of these children, the program provides parents with the tools, strategies and support they need to help their children reach their full communication potential.
Here are some of the valuable things you’ll learn with the More Than Words Program:
- How your child learns best and what motivates him to communicate
- Why your child behaves in certain ways, and what you can do to either increase or reduce those behaviors
- How to use your knowledge about your child to set realistic goals
- How to make interactions with your child last longer and be more meaningful
- Tips for using pictures and print to help your child’s understanding
- Tips on how to talk so that your child understands you
- Strategies for developing your child’s play skills
- Ways to help your child make friends
Here’s an example of a strategy you’ll learn in the program.
“R.O.C.K.™ in your Routine”
Repeat what you say and do
Offer opportunities for your child to take a turn
Cue your child to take his turn; and
Keep it fun! Keep it going!
The R.O.C.K.™ strategy can be used during any activity you do with your child to foster longer, more meaningful interactions and improved social skills.
Like all of Hanen’s programs, More Than Words was developed by expert speech-language pathologists and is grounded in extensive research. The program itself is delivered by Hanen Certified Speech-language pathologists who have completed specialized training from The Hanen Centre.
I highly recommend it!