Parents of children with autism, myself included, are usually very hyperfocused on getting their children with autism to talk. I remember when my now sixteen year old with autism was about three or four years old. All I used to think about was how I could get him to talk. This is understandable, since children with autism are usually speech disordered.
What Parents of Children With Autism Really Want
What I really wanted, though, was a relationship with him, and that can be accomplished in more ways than just through speech. Believe me, during those years, I just wanted him to acknowledge me and communicate any way he could. Perhaps it is not as effective for the child when we focus on the narrower goal of speech. It is far better to concentrate on the broader goal of improving communication. What is the difference?
4 Modalities of Language
Language has four modalities: talking, listening, reading and writing. Notice how speech is only one of the four, and it may be the very hardest for the child. There are three others. Talking and writing are expressive, whereas listening and reading are receptive. Some people have used writing (easier for the child) as a bridge to talking (more difficult for the child.) If you are interested in pursuing this option, there is an excellent curriculum that can help you bridge your child's writing over to speech. The curriculum is titled Teach Me Language by S.K. Freeman.
Some parents of children with autism also focus on the listening aspect of language by working with auditory programs such as Earobics. This can also have the overall effect of improving language/communication. Also, many children with autism are interested in books, so parents can read to their children in order to foster more communication.
The above are some ideas for parents of children with autism to help them improve in the broader area of communication and not be hyperfocused on speech only. Children with autism need work in all four areas of language: talking, listening, reading and writing.