Autism Language Program
For some children who demonstrate a significant difficulty with the spoken language, we try to supplement these deficits with visual images that support language growth and communicative effectiveness. While a complete substitute visual language does not yet exist, the visual materials we introduce and develop resemble spoken language as closely as possible. When a spoken command is accompanied by a visual scene cue, direction is more likely to be understood.
When children become proficient with visual materials and the environment is rich with symbolic information, children tend to talk more. This occurs for reasons we do not always understand. Competent use of visual language often leads to greater spoken language. We can speculate that spoken language improves because the visual supports provide an organizational framework that seems to be lacking. Once again, we have taken advantage of an existing strength in attempt to improve a weakness.
Example of element cues
The elements of language, especially the verb, are difficult for the child with autism to understand. In the ALP, we use "element cues" to help teach the components of spoken language. By using these cues, we try to take advantage of the stronger visual skills generally present in the child with autism.