Learning Skills

Non-Verbal Autism – Overcoming the Challenge & Initiating A Dialogue

Parents never want to believe that their precious bundle of joy has autism. Catching the symptoms early (ideally before the age of eighteen months) make a huge difference. Treatment can reduce the effects of the disorder and help the child grow and thrive.

Autism appears during infancy or at early childhood stages causing delays in areas of development such as speech, cognition, and interaction with others. However, each child on the spectrum exhibit problems, varying in severity, in the following three areas:

  • Verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Unaware of the world around them
  • Have sensory issues

Individuals with the non-verbal symptom of autism, never learn to speak more than a few words or a complete sentence. A majority of them use no spoken language and are described as having nonverbal autism.For example:

  • Some individuals with nonverbal autism symptom cannot use words in a meaningful way, but these words carry a significant conversation in an incomplete way. For example, if they want to go for a ride, they may just say “car.”


  • Individuals with non-verbal autism lack the capability of phrasing words in a meaningful way. They may imitate scripts from a T.V serial or lines taught by their parents (poetry, songs, etc.). They use these scripts not to convey or communicate ideas, but use them as a practice for self-calming stimulations.


  • Some of the nonverbal individuals are able to communicate with sign language, written language, and through. Even without a spoken language, these individuals communicate effectively.

Still, individuals with non-verbal autism can understand more than they communicate.

Overcoming the challenge for enhanced conversation

Basic speech is important for a child with autism to convey their needs. These non-verbal people have ‘apraxia of speech’, that makes verbal speaking really challenging. For individuals having difficulty with spoken language, a speech therapist can help in a non-verbal autism recovery by building communication skills needed to interact and make friends. The therapists work on speech pragmatics or social language skills that is used in daily interaction.

The speech therapist focuses on the core deficits of communication challenges in the individuals. Based on their functional level the therapist work on various parameters some of which are:

Body language: Speech therapists teach how to recognize physical language and gestures. This helps them to understand whether the person is angry or in a good mood.

Social skills: Along with play therapy, music therapy, art therapy, and occupational therapy, a speech therapist help people with autism to build social communication skills and working together with other kids, making friends, sharing belongings, etc. They learn more words and attempt to say complete sentences.

Prosody: Many non-verbal people with autism have flat prosody. Music therapy along with speech therapy help individuals to build their vocal skills while mimicking the melodic voice of the song.

To contact a speech therapist: https://www.autismconnect.com/speech-language-therapists

Thus, speech therapy is a ‘must’ for non-verbal autism recovery to help individuals indulge in meaningful communication and social interaction.


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