Dr. Mendy Minjarez
Researcher and clinical psychologist at Seattle Children’s Autism Center, Dr. Mendy Minjarez, along with researchers at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, show in a recent study that parents, in a group setting, can learn Pivotal Response Training (PRT) to effectively increase motivation and language skills for their child with autism. Typically, PRT has been taught to parents in individual therapy sessions, but this research demonstrates that it can be just as effective when taught in a group setting.
In a previous blog, Minjarez describes PRT as a naturalistic behavioral intervention. She explains, “PRT utilizes the principles of ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis), such as reinforcement, but also incorporates developmental principles, such as following the child’s lead in intervention. Rather than applying ABA principles in a highly structured way, as in discrete trial training, in PRT parents are taught to embed ABA teaching principles into interactions with their child to enhance learning.”
To read more about the study and PRT, please see Seattle Children’s blog On the Pulse.
Communication deficit is a key feature of autism, and we see children who have communication strengths and challenges of all types. Some children benefit from the use of alternative/augmentative communication, known as AAC. AAC includes any type of communication that is not speech in order to replace or supplement talking. Parents frequently and understandably have questions and concerns when a clinician starts talking about AAC for their child – it certainly is a new, different and unfamiliar way to communicate. Or is it? If you think about it, we all use AAC every day – we point, gesture, click on icons, text or email. This is all nonverbal communication! Not so unfamiliar after all. Read full post »
The fourth and final post in our 4-part series on communication in children with autism spectrum disorder focuses on children who possess high verbal abilities, but may struggle with conversations and reciprocal social interaction.
In many ways, the ability to carry on a conversation is the culmination of the foundation skills of language and social communication development that have been described in previous posts. We have conversations to tell our stories, enlighten or persuade others to our point of view, and to negotiate or resolve conflicts. The ability to carry on conversations is an integral skill to function in our social world. Read full post »
Our 4-part series on communication development in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) continues with a focus on verbal communicators
Expected Verbal Skills in Typical Development
According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), typically developing children begin to say and imitate their first words around 1 year of age. At 1½ years, they begin to say more words and start to say “no” to protest and begin to point to request. At 2 years of age, children start to combine words into phrases and increasingly attempt to imitate adults’ conversation. By 3 years, children can label most familiar objects, and can use pronouns like “I,” and “you.” They can answer basic social questions about themselves, such as their name, age and gender, and can participate in basic conversations. At 4 years of age, children start to tell stories, relate events to themselves and start to talk about their likes and interests. At 5 years of age and beyond, children can tell stories using complete sentences and can use a variety of verb tenses, like past, present and future. Read full post »
Our second installment of a 4-part series focusing on communication in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) focuses on the emerging verbal stage of development.
Children on the autism spectrum who are in the “Emerging Verbal” stage of language acquisition are just beginning to acquire single words and some 2-3 word phrases and are using them to communicate with the people around them. Their vocabulary is still quite limited, but they are beginning to use words functionally, i.e., for specific social purposes. They have acquired what is called “intentional communication” and are beginning to communicate for a variety of functions including requests, comments, asking questions, greetings or a number of other communicative functions. (Part 1 of the series: Pre-Intentional/Pre-Verbal)
Read full post »