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Understanding Teaching Nonverbal Children

Non-verbal autism is a form of autism due to which the affected person does not speak. While in some cases children with autism may start speaking as they grow, in others they may remain nonverbal or learn to speak only a few words.

Autism has an impact on the communication and social skills of a person and being nonverbal means more challenges.

Numbers claim that around 25%- 30% people with autism may have nonverbal autism. Communicating thoughts, feelings, ideas is a struggle for nonverbal children and also has a huge impact on their academic and social life.

We still do not know what causes the occurrence of nonverbal autism and thus we can only focus on strategies and skills that can be taught to overcome the barriers.

In case of non-verbal autism a person cannot share his/her emotions, physical, thinking and thought to the listener through verbal mode of communication. This causes emotional frustrations which can turn into self-harm or the harm to the others. Their brain finds solitaire in the world of communication. Children can be helped through parental awareness for the high risk babies, early intervention, monitoring hearing and speech milestones. - Saugandh Pratap Singh, Audiologist & Speech Therapist, Praangan.

Teachers, parents, special educators have to use various methods and techniques to provide learning to children who are nonverbal. Here are few things to consider:

• Children should be motivated to develop their languages kills by encouraging them to read books.

• They should also be motivated to take part in communications with family and friends to teach them the importance of social interactions.

• Observe the child to understand behavior and grasping power.

• Parents and teachers should work as a team and coordinate with each other.

• A fixed routine should be followed so as not to disturb the pattern in the student's life.

• Signs, gestures, expressions, body language cues and such skills should be taught.

• With clear precise instructions children should be asked to complete tasks.

• Constant praise and appreciation can go a long way in boosting the children's confidence in their own abilities.

• Gaining trust through positive bonding will help the children open up and interact, there by paving the way for learning.

• Using picture based instructions, games, learning devices, education can be made fun for students.

• Patience is the key and children should be given time and space to respond in communication.

• It is important to remember that each child is different and a method that works for one student may not be as effective with others.

"We use a variety of techniques such as self-made flash cards, audio-video mediums, computer games and gadgets, concentration games to encourage the kids to learn. Once the child trusts the educators, he or she starts responding to the instructions or lessons. The coordination between the student and teacher is important for the meeting the educational needs of nonverbal children," says Meenu Shahi, Founder, UDAAN Special School.

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