Autism can manifest in several ways, usually affecting the child’s social or motor skill development. There is currently no cure for Autism and one will not be available for at least several decades as scientists are only just beginning to understand the disorder’s origins but have yet to narrow down potential causes. But for parent’s living with a child who has autism, advancements in our knowledge of how the Autistic mind thinks and learns are bringing hope that children with Autism can grow to be fully functioning, healthy adults.
What is Visual Language?
The greatest advancement in understanding how Autism affects the mind is the discovery that people who suffer from the disorder have an easier time communicating their needs and emotions with images rather than with words. Since then, behavioral therapists and teachers have begun creating learning programs and software that focus on allowing children with Autism to communicate with familiar and consistent images to help increase their understanding of basic communication therefore encouraging their ability to learn how to develop their verbal communication skills. This “visual language” method of learning has been steadily helping Autistic children all over the country for the last five years or so.
Using Visual Language to Communicate with Autistic Children
Communication is the core issue and major barrier for families raising a child with Autism. It accounts for at least and estimated 60% of all family-related stress on a daily basis. It is also the main reason that some children are slower to develop their already suffering social skills. The most important need that visual language tactics serve is to help build the child’s confidence in his or her communication skills. Once the child and the parents are able to develop a solid line of communication, the child is in a better position to learn from the parent’s and embrace their social skill development therapies.
Communicating with visual language is simple. Typically the child will have paper or a dry erase board (modern technology also offers the use of tablets) and will draw an object that symbolizes what they want or need. For example, if a child is hungry, he or she will draw a plate and fork or even the specific food they desire. The parent will then provide that object or fill that need, communicating back to the child with spoken language to encourage the use of words in the future.