6 Autism Language Development Activities Ideas | FREE Printable

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According to the CDC, around 1 in 44 children are diagnosed with autism. Having autism can make it challenging for kids to develop language skills. If your kiddo has autism you may be wondering what you can do to help promote their language development. Try engaging in some autism language development activities. We’ve got 6 of the best autism language development activities below. 

#1 Autism Language Development Activities

Word Lab 

Goally’s Word Lap app uses videos to demonstrate the pronunciation of core words, how to use them properly, and the words meaning. The gamified experience helps kids with autism learn vocabulary without even realizing it. Interactive practices use repetition to promote the retention of keywords. When kids have mastered those, parents can switch up the words in the game using the parent app. With so many options for customization, language development opportunities are endless. 

Goally's word lab app that's a great for autism language development activities

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#2 Autism Language Development Activities

Show and Tell 

While show and tell is usually a school activity, you can do it at home too! It’s a great way to encourage your child to open up and share their feelings. Here’s what you can do. Set aside a time, say once a week or every other week, where you ask your child to pick out a toy they really like and bring it to you. Then, ask them how they feel about that toy. You can ask questions like what games they like to play with it and what makes it special to them. This not only gives your child a chance to express themselves but also helps you understand what they’re interested in and what they value.

#3 Autism Language Development Activities

3. Emotion Cards 

One of the more difficult things for someone with autism is understanding and identifying emotions. They may not be able to identify when someone is happy, upset, angry, or annoyed. Emotion cards can help teach your autistic child about different emotions. The cards have pictures of what typical emotions look like.  Ask them which emotion they think the card represents while only showing the picture. Remember, don’t say the word for what the emotion is. 

#4 Autism Language Development Activities


Something you can practice with your autistic child is what you call people. For example, you can ask your child what a person’s name is. Then, you ask them what they call you and your spouse. After that, you can extend this to their friends, siblings, teachers, and relatives. Using this practice with family members’ names can help autistic children understand how they relate to other people. 

Autism Language Development Activities this image shows a child and her mom holding a card with I love mom written on it
Read more: Autism Toys for Toddlers, Kids & Teens in 2022

#5 Autism Language Development Activities

Questions Game 

This is a fun way to teach autistic children about morals and do the right thing.You can create a scenario for the child to consider and then ask them what they would do in that situation. For instance, let’s say you tell the child that they’re at the grocery store and they see an older person who has dropped all their groceries on the floor and is struggling to pick them up. You could then ask the child, “Would you help?” This gives the child an opportunity to think about what the right thing to do would be and to consider when it’s appropriate to help others. It’s a perfect way to teach kids about right and wrong in a way that’s engaging and interactive.

#6 Autism Language Development Activities

Cue Cards

Kids with autism have difficulty communicating their wants and needs with others. This can cause intense feelings of stress and frustration. They respond well to consistency with routines and schedules. Adding visual cue cards to your activity routine can establish a standardized form of communication for you and your child. Using cue cards helps your child associate routines and behaviors with images so they take action on their own. It’s best to keep the cards with you wherever you go so they’re accessible when you want to communicate directions nonverbally. Try these free printable cue cards from Goally.

Autistic children are more apprehensive when it comes to new experiences or anything outside of their regular routine. Consider what motivates your child, inspires them, and makes them feel good. When you introduce new tasks, reward them with something you know they’ll enjoy. The child will focus less on the process to complete the task and instead look to the desirable outcome. As a result, your kiddo will likely complete tasks with less resistance to attain the reward at the end. Be sure to adjust the rewards as your child grows or expresses interest in different things. 

Read more: Free Printable Visual Cue Cards for Autism
Goally's AAC app and language learning app called Word Lab teaches kids their first 50 words. Text reads "Is your child not talking? Goally will teach their first 50 words."

Goally | Teach Kids AAC & Core Words

Is your child facing challenges in expressing themselves or communicating effectively? Goally’s language apps support their journey in building essential communication skills! All of these apps are included our skill-building tablet made for kids.

Goally's AAC Talker app and Word Lab app displayed on 2 Goallys. There's text that reads "Teach AAC and Core Words."

The Word Lab and AAC Talker apps provide a simple, engaging platform for your child to learn core words and become a functional communicator right from the start. Customize the experience with a voice that suits them, and watch as their confidence grows in expressing their thoughts and needs!

But we don’t stop there. Our Balloon App helps build the skills needed to use AAC by engaging your child with fun, interactive “pop the balloons” exercises. It’s a game-changer for kids who need that extra boost in communication.

Learn More Autism Language Development Activities 

Helping a child develop language skills can be daunting, and there’s no one-size-fits-all technique. Let Goally help! Our Word Lab app helps kids practice what they learned in school or therapy with real-life scenarios. When it comes to language learning, repetition is key. Encourage your kid to try the lessons multiple times to get the hang of it!

FAQs About Autism Language Development Activities

What are some effective language development activities for children with autism?
Some effective language development activities for children with autism include play-based activities, social skills games, and visual aids.

How can I improve my child's language skills at home?
You can improve your child's language skills at home by reading books together, engaging in play-based activities, using visual aids, and providing opportunities for social interaction.

What are some ways to help children with autism develop social communication skills?
Some ways to help children with autism develop social communication skills include practicing turn-taking, using visual aids, engaging in social skills games, and encouraging interaction with peers.

What are some common language challenges faced by children with autism?
Some common language challenges faced by children with autism include difficulty with expressive language, understanding nonverbal cues, and difficulty with social communication.

This post was originally published on 10/25/2022. It was updated on 06/15/2023.

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