Speech Skills for Nonverbal Kids on the Autism Spectrum

When I was watching Atypical, the movie that I have reviewed in this post,  I noticed that Sam Gardner, the main character, could have at one time proved to be nonverbal and his parents did everything that was in their power to change this. There is this scene where the mother and father are going through stuff they have kept and the mother says that she is giving out his toddler play things. And then she fishes out what looked to me like MK feelings card that are usually bought for nonverbal autistic kids. And it gets me really thinking. Could the Sam Gardner who is portrayed as an autistic savant owing to his brilliance in school have been nonverbal in his formative years? What with his brilliance in biology, immense knowledge about penguins and the Arctic and all that? It really got me thinking!

Anyway, the scene is also testament that when you find that your autistic child is not talking, it is not the end of life. Actually, it could mean the start of so many things. The only thing that you need is to brace yourself and be ready to work really hard to get the kiddo speaking. You also need to think about investing in toys that will help the kid with verbal skills. Also think of taking the kid to a speech therapist as well as an occupational therapist who will help them with gaining communication and social interaction skills as well as assessing the needs and talents of the child so that you can then get them adaptive tools to help them.

Speech skills for autistic kids

  1. Though you will be buying audio toys for the kids, you need to have them removed off their batteries so that the kid can learn how to imitate the sounds of the toy and therefore learn verbal skills in this way.
  2. As much as the kid is not speaking, take them to places where there are other kids who are chatting animatedly. Caution though should be taken lest there is too much auditory stimulation that could cause the child get a meltdown. In such cases, you need to get them some earmuffs that reduce the noise. The social gathering would however be key in fostering social interaction with the real world. Games can also be encouraged that allow for multiple players.
  3. Learning of words or sounds should be gradual. Be always patient with the kid even if you feel that they are just too slow in their learning. If you try to hurry them up, you might irritate them and they could turn aggressive which is not something that you would really entertain.
  4. Other than speech skills, kids on the spectrum have tactile needs. They want to feel senses. This can be addressed through weighted vests, sensory boards as well toys that involve their fine motor skills.

In the movie Atypical, I think what really stands out is the mother’s resilience. Well, she might have cheated and had sexual relations with that stoned bar guy, but you cannot blame her entirely for that. You also need to learn that Doug, the father, had actually evaded the home and left the family when he realized that nothing could be done to his autistic son. The mother was fast enough to start thinking about behavioral therapy and that is what sets Sam Gardner from the rest of sad autistic cases where parents do not intervene and are too scared when the diagnosis is read out. Through her resilience, hard work and sacrifice, the family stands. You should also notice that she is the one going to the support groups of parents with kids on the spectrum. Doug only comes later and actually does not even know about people language first. He refers Sam as an autistic child rather than a kid on the autism spectrum disorder.We cannot therefore hate her now that she went out of wedlock and had a thing with the bar guy.