Introduction to Spontaneous Communication: What is Communication temptation?

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often have deficits in communication. Being able to communicate will help reduce confusion and frustration and at the same time be able to connect with others. That’s why it is also important for our children to learn the right skills and set up opportunities to encourage spontaneous communication.


What is Spontaneous Communication?

Spontaneous communication is when communication is initiated voluntarily and is not a form of response. Some children may be non-verbal, while some can be verbal but have trouble speaking spontaneously. These children may have an extensive vocabulary and may be able to speak and respond to questions but face challenges in communicating spontaneously. They may not ask questions or make comments on their own, and may also have difficulties using language effectively or appropriately.

Teaching children with autism to communicate spontaneously is a great way to increase their desire to talk and help them express their needs more effectively, and at the same time decrease their frustration. Most parents may feel stressed when faced with this challenge. To help your child to speak spontaneously, you will have to create opportunities for your child to initiate communication, using a technique called ‘Communication Temptations’.


What is Communication Temptation?

Communication Temptation is simply setting up opportunities to tempt our children to speak. A child is much more likely to communicate if they are motivated. As described by Wetherby & Prizant (1989), “communication temptations are used to increase a student’s desire to communicate, and make communication fun”. It also teaches the child the power of language which helps the child initiate communication more readily. This will also help reduce frustrations and encourage more appropriate communication as well.

There are a variety of communication temptations to explore. Some basic ones include:

In our next article, we will explore 3 scenarios on how to practice and set up situations for Communication Temptation to help you teach your child to communicate spontaneously.


Information provided by:

Loh Li Ling, B.A. Psy, Senior Case Supervisor
Loh Li Ling is currently a Senior Case Supervisor at Autism Partnership Singapore. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from James Cook University, Australia.
Having worked at Autism Partnership Singapore since 2014, Li Ling has worked with many children of varied age groups, ranging from 2 to 16 years old in both one-to-one and classroom settings, with an average of 4 to 6 children per group. Her expertise in groups includes teaching children relevant skills required for school; to improve and have an understanding of appropriate social behaviors as well as to develop meaningful effects for one another. She is also a member of the Autism Partnership Singapore Jumpstart team.
Li Ling has also provided shadow-aide support for children in mainstream and international schools to assist and facilitate children to adapt to a school environment. She has conducted social groups, regularly bringing groups of children aged 10 and above on regular outings.
Li Ling also does parent and helper training to guide caregivers on managing their children in the everyday, natural setting.

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