People have many questions about autism speech. This post is about Autism and speech. What words do students with Autism need to learn?
Watching toddlers develop speech is an exciting milestone for all parents to watch. But when young children are delayed in developing those early communication skills, it’s typical to seek an evaluation.
By the time a typically developing child is two, it’s generally expected that they will be using some words to communicate. The vocabulary of the typically developing toddler might contain somewhere between 75-225 words. When young children do not develop those early words, that is a signal for further investigation.
A recent article highlighted Researchers at Bryn Mawr College’s Child Study Institute who have identified a list of 25 words that they suggest every (typically developing) child should be using by age two.
Here is their list of 25 common words that they say should form the building blocks of a (typically developing) toddler’s vocabulary:
- all gone
- bye bye
- thank you
It’s an interesting list. . .typical food items, body parts, clothing. The targeted words are those that are most commonly integrated into early interactions with young children during the course of daily activities. They are learned because they have functional purpose in the child’s life.
Perhaps the most used words on that list that young children speak are “no,” “yes,” “more” and “all gone.”
Statistics vary, but as many as 40% of young children with autism are non-verbal or delayed in developing speech. Speech Therapy or some type of early intervention program is recommended when those children are identified.
After looking at the above list, I have an important question. What vocabulary should be targeted in early Speech Therapy or in the early intervention setting for children with autism? How does that coordinate with this list of early words for typically developing children?
Sometimes educators working with young children with autism establish a goal to see how many picture cards the child can label. The problem with that approach to teaching speech is that children may learn to label the pictures but if the vocabulary doesn’t have a functional use in their daily life activities, they won’t develop the ability to use that vocabulary in a functional way.
So, how do therapists, teachers and parents select which vocabulary to teach to children with autism?
Please comment on your most important vocabulary.
Choosing the right vocabulary is important to help children with Autism with speech .