Ideas to Be-Witch Your Child's Language this Halloween (video)


Halloween is one of those holidays that kids look forward to all year long. Halloween takes on many forms—it can be scary, mysterious, exciting, comical, and so on. When children with autism have enriched language to accurately understand and describe what they see and how they feel, they can fully enjoy the events and activities of Halloween. Here are some ways you can model language for your child to use:

Express opinions: Use interjections to express emotion combined with adjectives to describe like, “Yikes! How creepy!” or “Yuck! That’s slimy and disgusting!” or “Whoa! That frightened me!”

Express compliments: Use interjections to express emotion combined with adjectives to describe children’s costumes like, “Wow! Look how many eyes that alien has!” or “Ooohhh…that princess’s gown is so sparkly and beautiful.” Or “Hmmm…That clown has such big feet. How can that kid walk?!”

Discuss your thoughts and feelings about the characters behind the costumes: Look through costume catalogues while discussing what makes the characters different and special like, “I wish I could be like Spiderman and swing from building to building” or “If I were a ghost, I would disappear before bathtime” or “I wonder why witches chose brooms to ride on”

Turn the table: Come home a little earlier from trick-or-treating so that your child can be the neighbor who is at the door giving out candy to the kids. He can now have the opportunity to experience the reverse role and rather than simply responding, “Trick-or-treat!”, your child can initiate, “Here’s some candy for you!” and “Please take a candy!” and talk about the kids’ costumes and give compliments as you had previously modeled.

For children with limited language, the pronouns “you” and “I” are very confusing, especially when these pronouns are combined with proper names such as “Katie” and “Mom”. While you and your daughter are both wearing costumes, model for your daughter. Point to her and say, “Katie, you are a ghost. Then have Katie point to herself and say, ‘I am a ghost, Mom’”. Then while pointing yourself say, “Katie, I am a cat. Then have Katie point to you and say, ‘You are a cat, Mom’”.

Halloween allows a unique opportunity to be playful and have fun while understanding and expressing interesting language. I hope you and your family have a fang-tastic time celebrating! -KKS

Are you eager to help your child communicate better but not sure where to begin?

Hi! I'm Karen Kabaki-Sisto, an autism communication expert for over 20 years.

If your child with autism talks, he or she likely has difficulties understanding and expressing words, gestures, and feelings. I created this user-friendly tool to turn your observations into real insights about:

 

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Upon completion, you'll instantly receive a detailed report of your child's current communication strengths and weaknesses. Over time, you can make new assessments (as often as you'd like) to monitor her or his progress.

 

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