ASD Tip of the Month

For the past six years, the autism center has provided a monthly tip to support and encourage you as you educate children and youth with autism. We are excited to share with you our favorite tips from the past.

February 2021:

Denise’s favorite: Support Communication by Using “What to do Words” - May 2017-2018

For many individuals with receptive and expressive language difficulties, question asking can be very confusing. Question answering takes the ability to understand each question type and how to appropriately respond. Think about it! If you didn’t know that a ‘who’ question requires a response about a person or a ‘where’ question is about a place, you would be responding incorrectly. In place of question asking, use ‘what to do’ words. As the speaker, you provide the words that support actions, emotions, names, everything!

“Interpreting abstract ideas and concepts is frequently difficult for individuals with ASD. One way to help them is to restructure abstract ideas by adding concrete information. For example, instead of asking 'how do you feel?', you could say “You look happy. You have a big smile on your face. Tell me what makes you happy today?” Modeling directives, sometimes referred to as “what to do words”, provides concrete information on how to engage in social communication.”

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