Children on the autism spectrum often do not make typical and expected statements in conversation to indicate interest. This happens for two reasons. First, they might not be at all interested in what the other person is saying. Second, they might be interested, but they are not aware of the importance of validating words and phrases in conversation and they are not well practiced in using them.
Validating words and phrases, such as “cool,” “you don’t say,” “really,” how about that” and others are very common in typical conversation. But may individuals with Asperger’s and other autism spectrum disorders use these words very seldom. Without the special lubrication of validating words and phrases, the conversation can fall flat.
My short Youtube video on how to use validating language prompts is available through this link: http://bit.ly/wiL3dW . If you watch it, a lot of this will probably become much more clear.
How make the written prompts:
Follow the directions below to download the PDF for the prompts.
How to use the written prompts:
1. Hold up the prompts during times when validating language is called for.
2. Switch roles. You play the person who does not know how to use these words. Have the kids hold up the cards while you are talking to someone so you know what to say.
3. Learn and use the short, easy song from the Youtube video (with younger kids). This helps them to learn and remember these important words.
Joel Shaul, LCSW