How to Communicate with an Autistic Child – Know Them Better
In this post, we will be discussing how to communicate with an autistic child so that they can share their feelings and problems with you, and thus you can understand them better.
Communicating with an autistic child can be a very difficult task for many parents because children who are affected by ASD are known to have great difficulties when it comes to interacting with other people. As a parent or an authority figure, it becomes your responsibility to understand your kid’s behavior and nature so that you can be the someone with whom they are comfortable enough to communicate.
As we have discussed in our previous post “Autism in Children“, every case of autism is different and there is no common solution for autistic children. Hence, you must first observe your kid and find out what type of communication is the most convenient one for them.
In another post named “Signs and Symptoms of Autism in Kids“, we have mentioned that the ability to speak or understand language highly depends upon the degree to which a child is affected by ASD. So you should also make sure that your kid could express their feeling to you by developing a deeper bond with them.
Developing Rapport and Connection
As we have discussed in the above paragraph, you need to develop a deeper connection with your kid in order to be able to communicate with them effectively. The most important step in this whole process is that you should take a lot of time from your day for being with your kid and observe them closely. Once you have analyzed your child’s behavior and understood how they react to various things, here are 4 things that you can use for building a good rapport with them:-
Autistic children are known to have unique interests and hobbies. Some of these kids are so obsessed with a few activities that they can do it all day long. Finding out what interest your kid has developed is a very good opportunity to be able to develop a deeper bond with them.
All you have to do is to get involved with them in whatever they love to do and thus discuss those things with them that they find exciting. Once they have developed the confidence that they can talk about their likes with you, they will be very enthusiastic to communicate with you.
Feelings and Emotions
Some kids affected with ASD are very expressive about their feelings whereas others have a difficult time expressing how they feel. You should allow your kid to freely express their emotions and be with them when they are feeling various kind of emotions. Sometimes it is good to talk with them and discuss how they are feeling and during other times when they are not willing to communicate, you can just support them by staying beside them in silence(this lets them know that you care about them on a deeper level).
Find the Best Time
One of the biggest challenges that a parent faces while raising an autistic child is that these kids experience various mood swings throughout the day. In some hours they are super excited and happy whereas, during the other times, they may want to be alone.
Your job is to find the best time during which you can talk to them and engage them in some fun-filled activity. When your kid wants to stay isolated and refuse to respond, you should be patient enough to wait for the right time.
Communicating with an Autistic Child
Once after using the above process and developing a strong connection with the child, you should focus on various modes of communication to interact with the kid and find out what works best.
Here are a few things you can try:-
For many children affected by ASD, understanding language is a difficult stuff however many do understand words better than gestures.
It is best to use short sentences and emphasize words while speaking to the children so that they could process it easily. Be ready to take a lot of time to help them understand the language. Also communicate with them frequently so that they could get accustomed to the language. In cases where kids find it hard to process auditory information, you can prefer to use written words and sentences for doing the same.
Once you have tried to orally communicate with the kid or used written sentences, you can also move on to try out visuals.
A lot of autistic kids find it convenient to understand the language with the use of visuals. In order to do this, you can draw pictures and express your thoughts to them using such visuals. You can also draw charts about the daily routine of the kid and communicate with them about various things like “food time”, “play time”, etc. by drawing appropriate pictures.
Figure Out What Works for Them
One important thing you can keep in mind while interacting with an autistic kid is that they perceive things differently, so your usual way of communication can be complicated for them to understand.
This is why you should be using statements more often than questions and try to keep the conversation focused on one direction in order to avoid confusion, also repetition of words is essential.
One more important thing to be kept in mind while communicating with an autistic kid is to be as much literal in your sentences as possible because they find it difficult to understand figurative expressions.
So these were some tips and methods for communicating with an autistic child, we hope it works for you. If you feel that your kid is not at all able to express their feelings properly then you must try to seek a professional help and make use of the therapies available today.
We would also like to recommend the online program from an expert parent coach and practicing counseling psychologist named Mark Hutten, M.A named “Parenting Autistic Kid” using which you can learn a lot of parenting tips and methods on how to help your kid.
This Youtube video provides some good tips on how to communicate with Autistic kids:-
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