Enabling Communication in Children with Autism

Enabling Communication in Children with Autism

Enabling Communication in Children with Autism

Enabling Communication in Children with Autism

Synopsis

The early stages of linguistic and social interaction are crucial in child development, but particularly in children with autism. This work shows how a range of environmental and social influences may significantly affect children with autism.

Excerpt

This book aims to help school-based staff develop more communication-enabling environments for children with autism who use little or no speech, although we sincerely hope that parents will also find many sections helpful. The book is based on a two-year research project that was undertaken in five special schools in the UK. A clear intention throughout the text is to establish a strong link between our own research, theoretical issues, and what goes on in real classrooms on a daily basis. To achieve this end, many practice scenarios are included to illustrate communication-enabling approaches in action.

In our research, we found that when practitioners adopted a range of communication-enabling strategies and approaches, which built on the children's strengths, those children with autism and minimal or no speech involved were able to make relatively significant progress in their social and communication abilities. This study also demonstrated that factors within the environment, rather than within the child, were influential in affecting the rate and quality of the children's spontaneous communication. These findings have implications for ways in which autism is researched and for professional training in this field.

This was a study where five classrooms and 18 children were observed in depth, but over a relatively short period of time. We strongly recommend, in Chapter 11, that more classrooms and children are examined in detail and over time. The focus should be, as in this study, on examining ways in which their environment can be more or less enabling.

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