Communicative Difficulties In Children With Autism

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As a high school student, I worked with a thirteen-year-old boy named Ricky as a sign language tutor. Ricky had autism and did not acquire speech other than the word “ma”. A high population of children with autism does not acquire speech, and intervention is needed. Other methods of intervention exist, but teaching signs is one of the most useful ways of giving nonverbal children the power of communication. Although researchers often seek to solve problems, I approach this topic from the perspective of a teacher. Teachers must grapple with educating a higher percentage of children with communicative challenges due to a growing diagnosis of autism. Special education policy must work to support the needs of these students while giving teachers opportunities to practice appropriate interventions. The success of sign language instruction will vary among children, but invested parents and teachers may be able to help a child realize his or her communicative potential.
Communicative Difficulties in Children with Autism
Communication is the sending and receiving of information. It is the “interactive exchange of information, ideas, feelings, needs, and desires” (Heward, 2009, p.297). The act of communication allows us to understand relationships between people, things, and actions. Types of communication include spontaneous requests, spontaneous comments, responsive requests, responsive comments, and imitation (Bondy & Frost, 2002). Receptive communication occurs when incoming information is interpreted, while expressive communication occurs when an individual conveys information (Heward, 2009). Communication requires a sender and a receiver of information. Thus, as humans, communication allows us to relate to our peers. We can express o...

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