Thoughts on Questions

From Kate Wilde:

Questions?? Questions?? Questions??

What Color is this?  How many balloons are there? What would you like to eat? Do you want me to tickle you?What is this called? Shall I sing you a song? What do you want? Is this what you want? Shall I pretend to be a dog? What noise does a cat make?

How many questions a day do you ask your child on the Autism Spectrum? Questions are part of the way we communicate thoughout our daily lives with people, they can be useful and yet they are also overused when working with our children. They can sound like we are testing our children and can turn them off from wanting to communicate with us.

Some thoughts from The Son- Rise Program to consider when asking your child a question?

1. Why am I asking my child this question? Is it because I actually want to know the answer or is it a rhetorical question where you are not looking for your child to answer but are going to answer the question yourself? If it is indeed rhetorical don’t ask it – do what you were going to do without adding the question – here your question is not necessary it takes up space and teaches your child that questions are not to be answered.

2. Are you asking a question just to hear them say what you already know they know. For instance are you asking them what color something is just to hear them say what color it is? If you know that they already know this – then ask them something else- something that may be more interesting for your child that does not have a right or wrong answer- for instance you could ask them who they think their funniest relative is. 

3. Are you asking a question as a way to begin a conversation with your child. This is one way to start, but there are also other ways that may be more interesting and more conversational for your child. Instead of asking a question, share a story, a comment or a thought about something that you think may interest your child. If your child is motivated by dinasoeurs, you could say something like:

“If lived in the time of dinosaurs I would make a carriage out of wood that would sit on top of a dinosaur so that I could ride upon them where ever they went.”

Then pause and see if your child has a spontaneous verbal thought to your comment. This way you are inspiring your child to spontaneously communicate their own thoughts and ideas about what you just said, which helps them not only share their inner thoughts but to construct their own original sentences.

4. Are you asking a questions as a way to start an activity?. Instead of the question just start the activity,for example instead of asking them if they want to draw, get some pens and paper down and start to draw, they will soon let you know if they want to draw with you or not.

5 .There are ways that you can ask your child a question without it sounding as if you are testing them, but as if you are including them in a decision about how you are going to interact together. For instance, instead of saying, “What color paper would you like” you could say, “oooh we have lots of colored paper here, I am wondering which color we are going to draw on first?

Have fun reviewing and changing the ways you encourage your children to verbally communicate with you.

With love

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