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Early years: difficulties with language and social communication and difficulties with communication

Strategies and approaches:

  • Use the child’s name first to draw their attention, followed by key word instructions e.g. “Jamie … stop.”
  •  Consider booking attention building training delivered by the Speech and Language Setting Support (SALSS) team.
  • Give clear simple instructions (avoiding idioms).
  • Use objects of reference to support routine.
  • Use literal language (avoiding sarcasm and figures of speech).
  • Use a symbol communication system such as Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) if recommended by a specialist who has also provided training to enable practitioners to implement the system correctly.
  • Be aware of you own body language: 93% of what we communicate is non-verbal, 7% is communicated through spoken word, 38% through tone of voice, and 55% through body language.

Have an awareness of:

  • an appropriate tone of voice (calm, not too loud).
  • an appropriate environment (noise, temperature, lighting, layout).
  • use of language (some children may need a language rich environment; others may need it to be kept simple).


IDP: Supporting Children on the Autistic Spectrum

Speech and Language Setting Support

Information regarding Attention Autism

Communication Environment Evaluation Tool

Guidance for evaluating your communication environment

Last updated 1 November 2022

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