Improving Communication and Language Skills

Improving communication and language skills in children with autism is a common priority for parents or guardians. For many children with autism, communication deficits are the most pronounced symptom of autism. ABA therapists target improved communication and language skills as important goals for early learners.

Improving Communication and Language Skills

Communication and language deficits look different for every child. Some may be completely non-verbal, while others’ speech may be rigid or involve repeating words but without the ability to have meaningful conversations.

Whatever the communication or language deficit may look like, ABA therapy teaches communication and verbal language skills to children with autism. More than 20 years of research from behavior analytic journals has documented the success of ABA techniques and procedures in increasing language skills.

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Communication and language skills that improve with ABA therapy include:

  • Requesting desired items.
  • Naming or describing items in the environment.
  • Receptive language such as following instructions.
  • Using alternative modes of communication if needed (e.g., sign language, communication devices).
  • Reading sight words.
  • Engaging in appropriate social communication with peers.

As language skills develop through ABA therapy, noticeable decreases in challenging behaviors (like tantrums) tend to occur as the child is now better able to communicate with those around them.

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