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What is Nonverbal Autism?

Nonverbal autism means your child may not talk at all or may talk very little. A child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that has not begun to verbalize by the age of four is considered to have nonverbal autism. About 25% to 50% of children are impacted by nonverbal autism.

“Nonverbal autism means your child may not talk at all or may talk very little.”

Read on to find out what you can do if your child is diagnosed with nonverbal autism.

What to Know About Nonverbal Autism

Nonverbal autism is a form of autism that is characterized by a lack of or limited use of verbal communication. This can include difficulty using words to express needs or desires, speaking in single words or short phrases, and difficulty understanding language. Nonverbal autism can also manifest in other ways, such as through limited eye contact, poor nonverbal communication skills, and difficulties with social interaction.

What Are Some Things I Can Do About Nonverbal Autism?

Once you ask yourself what is nonverbal autism, be ready to go into action. Be encouraged parents of non-verbal autistic children. Staying positive in your approach is vital. 

According to Applied Behavioral Analysis, there are six strategies you can use with your nonverbal autistic child to help them better communicate:

  • Hand gestures and eye contact are basic precursors to language. Communicate with your child with hand gestures like pointing or moving your hands. This achieves two goals. It helps your child communicate with you by seeing and mimicking your actions. It’s also a building block to language, as gestures evolve into speech.
  • Using play as social interaction is an opportunity to describe various objects and things. When playing with your child, make certain to make a lot of eye contact. In this way, your child will understand seeing what you’re attempting to communicate and convey.
  • Role-playing and imitation are effective forms of conversation with the back-and-forth role-play introduces. Let them lead the way at times and you imitate what they are doing.
  • Always let your child set the pace. Using words easier to understand makes the acquisition process simpler. Leave the complicated vocabulary for later. The yearning to communicate is very basic. It will naturally become more and more important for your child to get their point across to you. Language may follow.
  • You’ll find many visual supports and assistive devices at your fingertips to help your autistic child. Don’t be afraid to use them. They are made to be foundational for communication and language is another tool in your child’s toolbox to communicate with you.
  • Allow room for your child to get their point across. As parents, we like to chime in and be “helpful.” Give them enough room to communicate before you respond for them.

The Sooner You Start Therapy the Better

Children generally exhibit symptoms of autism in the first two years of life. At Ascend Autism, we have programs for children as young as 18-month-old. We want families to be successful. We want autistic children to integrate into society and have meaningful, productive lives. 

Not sure where to get started with nonverbal autism? Call us at 877.323.8668 today. We’re here to help guide, encourage, and help your child grow as you navigate the complexities of ASD.


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