TalkAbility GUIDEBOOK: People Skills for Verbal Children on the Autism Spectrum: A Guide for Parents


TalkAbility GUIDEBOOK: People Skills for Verbal Children on the Autism Spectrum: A Guide for Parents by Fern Sussman
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TalkAbility™ GUIDEBOOK: People Skills for Verbal Children on the Autism Spectrum: A Guide for Parents by Fern Sussman

Even after they have learned to talk, children ages 3-7 with Asperger Syndrome, mild autism or social difficulties face special communication challenges. To have real “talkability”, children have to understand the meaning behind the words by tuning in to the thoughts and feelings of other people. TalkAbility offers a wealth of practical strategies that parents can build into their child's everyday life. These strategies help children gain both the social and special language abilities for successful conversations and friendships.

As adults, we know that there’s more to successful communication than the ability to talk. When we’re having a conversation, we pay attention to non-verbal clues that help us understand what the other person is thinking and feeling, such as body language, facial expressions, eye gaze, and tone of voice.

Most children begin paying attention to these non-verbal clues as infants when they search their parents’ faces for support and acknowledgement. But for children with Asperger Syndrome, mild autism or social communication difficulties, this ability to “tune in” to the thoughts and feelings of others often does not develop in the same way or at the same pace as other children.

But this doesn’t mean that your child can’t experience significant improvement in developing social skills. All he needs is some extra help and support from the important people in his life like you.

How the TalkAbility™ parent guidebook can help you:

The Hanen Centre designed the TalkAbility­™ guidebook for parents of verbal children ages 3-7 with social communication difficulties. Some of these children have a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome, High-Functioning Autism or Nonverbal Learning Disorder, while others may have no diagnosis at all. What these children all have in common, though, is difficulty knowing what to say and do in social situations.

Many of these children find it difficult to:

  • Have conversations with others
  • Play with children their own age
  • Talk about things that interest someone else
  • Change a routine without becoming very frustrated

Why Choose TalkAbility™?

Tools to “zero in” on your child’s strengths and weaknesses
The TalkAbility guidebook teaches you how conversations work and helps you identify the things your child does well and the things he needs to work on. This makes it a lot easier to know how to help him.

You’ll learn, for example, that conversation consists of three parts, referred to in the guidebook as “ICE”:

  • Initiate
  • Continue
  • End

With the help of the Conversation Checklists in the guidebook, you’ll be able to figure out which of these three parts your child needs the most help with. 

[Age Suitability: 3-6]

[Author: Fern Sussman]

[Pages: 208 - Full colour throughout]

[CODE: HC-5325]

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