Helping a child learn to respond to his name is often one of the long-term objectives of children with autism spectrum disorders. The social motivation to respond when called may be diminished or lacking. Here are some tips for facilitating response to name:
- Call the child’s name with a purpose. Avoid calling his name just to “test” his responsiveness. Call his name to get his attention for something he will enjoy.
- Use high-interest toys and activities to “reward” your child with when he responds. For example, call his name and when he looks, blow a bunch of bubbles. Tickle him, shower him with kisses or give him a cookie – anything that will make him happy!
The combination of calling a child’s name with a purpose and making that purpose be for his enjoyment, will help the child develop a positive association with responding to his name. In time, responding to his name will become increasingly automatic.