May is Better Speech and Hearing month and we are excited to celebrate all things speech and language with our kids and families this May.

The theme for this year’s Better Speech and Hearing Month (BSHM) is “Building Connections,”
and one of the core areas that speech therapists work on is Social Language. Social Language can include playing with friends, initiating communication interactions, having conversations, understanding facial cues, non-verbal communication and so much more. All of these are essential skills kids needs to build positive peer relationships and are all things that kids with Autism may have difficulties with.

At Partners in Excellence, we use of interdisciplinary approach to teach our kids the necessary social skills to build those positive peer relationships. Here are some ways families can work on social skills at home:

  • Understanding Facial Cues: point out when characters are happy, sad, mad, tired on your child’s favorite TV show or movie. Focus on showing your child that looking at someone’s eyes and mouth can help us understand how they’re feeling.
  • Playing: Playing is an important way for children to develop peer relationships. At home, work on different play activities with your child, focus on modeling language and communication interactions during play. Ask questions, comment, model language and have fun!
  • Initiating Communication Interactions: Sometimes our kids want to join in an activity with friends, but they don’t know how. Model for your child how to appropriately get their friends attention and ask to join, this could be as simple as tapping their friend on the shoulder and asking, “Can I play?”!
  • Conversations: Kids with Autism can have difficulties maintaining conversations about topics that they aren’t interested in. At home practice talking about your day with your child and prompting them to ask questions about your day.

Building connections is so important for kids and is something that our kids with Autism can have difficulties with. These are just a few of the skills that kids need to build positive peer relationships. If you have more questions about social language reach out to your child’s Speech Therapist!