As a school teacher, Betty encouraged parents to ask open ended questions while everyone was relaxed. Now as a mom of 3 boys Betty takes her own school teacher advice and is sure to ask questions that will provided more than a “yes” or “no” response.
I loved Betty’s suggestions and have incorporated them into my afternoon conversations with Norrin.
Ever since Norrin was diagnosed with autism, language and conversation is something we work on every day.
Like Betty – and any other mom – I want to know more about my kid’s day. So I ask Norrin questions. I ask them uncertain I’ll get an answer. I ask the same question a few times, just in case he needs time absorb it. And I ask questions I am certain he’ll respond to, even if I know the answer because I want him to get used to conversation.
7 questions to ask your child when they come home from school:
1. What did you eat for lunch?
Most days I pack Norrin’s lunch. So on those days, I know the answer but I ask anyway. On days when I don’t pack lunch, I still ask. Sometimes I have the school lunch list but if I don’t, I present multiple choice answers. If your child is non-verbal – show them a picture and have them point.
2. Who did you sit next to at lunch?
It helps to know the names of your child’s classmates, so that you can prompt a multiple choice if needed.
3. Did you go to OT/PT or Speech?
If they yes, ask what they did. I usually ask Norrin about his related services but pose it in a multiple choice format. When he tells what related service he had, I follow up by asking “What did you do with [therapist’s name]?” If it’s a related service that I know he sometimes has with a group – I ask if he went alone or with his friends.
4. What did you work for?
Norrin goes to an ABA school and often gets rewarded for completing a task. I like to know what he worked for.
5. Did you play with [name of child in his class]?
I always ask about his interaction with peers. I want to know what they played, if they had a good day or bad day.
6. What did you read at school today? (this is one of Betty’s questions)
I ask about reading and math when Norrin comes home. And then I ask him which he liked more. (It’s usually reading.)
7. Tell me about [whatever assignment/school work/art project is in his book bag].
Norrin doesn’t get much homework but he usually has some kind of class work or art work in his bag. I want to know all about that. I ask what it is and if anyone helped him. If it’s something that can be read, I ask him to read it to me.
Communication with your child’s teacher is critical. I often depend on Norrin’s teachers to fill in the blanks of his day. Before I start asking questions, I check the communication notebook. The more you and the teacher communicate – the more specific questions you can ask your child about his/her day.
When you have a child with autism, communication and conversation can be difficult. You don’t need to ask your child all 7 questions – this can be a lot for some kids. But ask one or two questions and build on their response. Expect a little more every day.