Throwback (2012): Teaching parents to break into their child’s world


Young children with ASD and their parents face a unique set of challenges when it comes to language acquisition. Children with ASD tend to initiate less, have trouble responding to parent gestures like gaze and pointing, may have limited interest in objects, and demonstrate perseverative play.

Venker et al. (2012) trained parents of children with ASD in various types of verbal responsiveness. Parents participated in SLP-led education sessions and several individual and small group parent/child coaching sessions. Parents in the treatment group showed a significant increase in their use of the strategies at the conclusion of the study, compared to parents who were in a delayed treatment group.

So, what actually works for young children with ASD? The strategies below:

Screen Shot 2018-08-20 at 8.07.36 PM.png

These methods have documented evidence supporting their use with children with ASD. And this study found that parents can easily learn them. Following this study, children showed increases in prompted communication acts and non-verbal communication. For parents new to the world of ASD, these strategies are a great place to start.  


Venker, C.E., McDuffie, A., Weismer, E. S., & Abbeduto, L. (2012). Increasing verbal responsiveness in parents of children with autism: A pilot study. Autism, 16(6), 568–85.