The Autism Language Launcher: Verbal Communication Excerpt Part 2

“Goal #8: Uses greetings

Goal description

Will say “hello” and “goodbye” to people.



Model saying a greeting to your child at the following times:

★ Whenever you greet your child, whether it is first thing in the morning, when you enter their bedroom to get them ready for the day, or when you come back from work, say a big and cheery “hello” to them. Add a flamboyant 3E’s wave when you do. Greet your child in this way even if they are not looking at you. We are not expecting them to say “hello” back; we just want to give them the experience of when and how to greet people.

★ When you have a Green Light and it is time to Entertain your child, have the stuffed animals or the figurines say “hello” and “hi” to one another.

★ In the same ways, model saying “goodbye.”


Once you have spent a least a week modeling “hello” and “goodbye,” start to leave a space for your child to say “hello” or “goodbye” back.


Let your child know that when someone says “hello” or “goodbye” to them, it is a super-friendly thing to say “hello” or “goodbye” back. When you do that, the other person knows that you like them and that you are interested in spending time with them and playing with them.


Talk to your family members and ask everyone to always model a fun and enthusiastic “hello” whenever they come into a room for the first time. So not only are you modeling saying “hello” to your child, but your child is also seeing each family member greet each other. Explain to them that you are modeling using greetings, but at this moment we are not expecting or asking our child to use the greeting back. We are just showing our children when to greet and how fun it is to greet another person.

Do not push your child to say “hello” and “goodbye” to everyone they meet. We want the experience of greeting to be fun and easy. For now, drop asking your child to say “hello” or “goodbye” when you and they are out and about on errands or meeting friends or family members. During these times we are often asking without taking into consideration whether our children are in a Red Light. The more we push or ask our children to greet people when they are in a Red Light, the more our children will push back. “


Excerpt with permission from Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

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