Working on conversation skills for students with autism can be a challenge. If your student has a goal to work on conversation skills, use the strategies below.
- We must first identify what our student enjoys. This will give us a wonderful starting point. Does your student love to shop at Justice? If so, “What store do you like?” might be a great conversation starter. Does your student love cookies? If so, “What dessert do you like?” might be a functional social language question.
- Have a visual ready to show your student when you first start work on the question. If you have a student working on answering “What do you like to do during break time?” and the answer is take read, make sure to have a picture to show the student of reading. A visual prompt may be needed to teach the student to answer the question with a logical answer. Once the student is able to answer the question with the visual present, slowly fade this prompt.
3. Does the student have the opportunity to answer the question when asked by other adults in the environment ( a teacher, paraprofessional, etc…), this will help to generalize the skill.
4.Generalize the skill to answering a question from a peer. Can you work with the student in a small group with other peers? If so start the group with social questions and include the specific questions you have worked on with your student. Being able to answer a question from a peer is a major milestone for a student with autism. This is the start of a conversation!!!
The next time you start to work on conversation skills with a student with autism, use the steps listed above. Social interaction is a gift that all students should learn how to enjoy! Want a list of free conversation starters, just fill out the form below and it will come right to you!!