Children with autism love their moms, but they might have trouble having a decent conversation with them.
Even the most intelligent children with autism spectrum disorders can find it extremely challenging and frustrating to have a conversation with family members. Getting ready for Mother’s Day, I designed two detailed worksheets to help kids talk with their mothers. (Lots of kids without autism have this problem too! Feel free to share with typical kids as well.)
How to print the worksheets:
Click on each image. Wait a moment for it to open in another window. Print. The images will be much easier to see if you print in color.
How to use worksheet number 1:
Introduce using words like this: “Everyone has their own separate mind. Each person has things they like and things they don’t care for. We are going to use worksheets and practice conversations to figure out how to have a good conversation with your mom. Your mom might like some things that you also like. She will certainly like a lot of things that you don’t care about at all.”
Alternative: Have the child interview his mother to find out what she likes.
Worksheet 2: Questions, Comments and Friendly Comments.
(This worksheet is derived from my Green Zone Curriculum, a kit of conversation starter materials for kids with ASD that includes a photo matching game, two workbooks and a set of illustrated slides.) You should explain that these three categories of things to say are really important in conversation. Practice saying them together out loud. Demonstrate how each is used in conversation.
Using the worksheets together in role play practice:
You (teacher, therapist, SLP) can pretend to be the child’s mother. You can hold the two worksheets facing the child while the child practices talking with you.
The best way to use the worksheets, of course, is with the actual mother present.
Note: Many children do not live with their mothers. If you are using these in a class, alter the worksheets as needed for grandmothers or other female guardians.
I hope you enjoy the worksheets, and I hope the autistic children you work with will benefit from using them.
Joel Shaul, LCSW