As a parent, you have to spend a lot of time thinking about their future and even more so if your child has ASD. Beyond medical care and therapy services, there are many small things you can do on a daily basis that can have a big impact on your children.
Probably one of the most common symptoms that can cause headaches for parents is the difficulty in being able to sustain a discussion and verbally express their current needs accurately. Sometimes just trying to determine if they are happy, sad, stressed, angry, concerned about what is going on at their school can be a major headache when we try to use traditional communication methods.
Don't let it stop you!
7 practical tips for talking with a child with autism
Getting to the point
Stay away from innuendos, grey areas, abstract concepts, get to the point! Children with autism generally do not have a good ability to distinguish nuance, sarcasm, irony or innuendo. It is also difficult for them to decipher the emotions of the person they are talking to.
Keep your sentences short, to the point and concise.
The pace and flow of your verbal exchange with him will depend on his ability to process information. Some children may have a processing time of a few seconds to several minutes. For non-autistic children, this process happens instantly without even thinking about it. For people with TSa, however, it is done manually. It is therefore essential to take a step back and not demand a quick response from the child so as not to start processing the information from scratch.
Choosing the right time
The time you want to talk with your child may not be the right time. In many cases, a child with ASD has a very tight and precise schedule that helps him or her navigate the time and space. Interrupting him in the middle of an activity he is intensely engaged in to talk with him may be a bad idea.
Just as it is not a good idea to ask questions when he is already preoccupied with something. This can lead to an overload of stimulation that will be stressful and disrupt his calm state.
Choose a quiet time when you feel your child is available and receptive.
Make an effort to talk to them as often as possible
Talking with a child with ASD is often difficult. We look for the best methods, the best ways to do things. It is demanding and challenging for us. In many cases, we will talk to them as little as possible to avoid bad reactions. However, it is a trap to try to talk to them often, even if the attempts are not always successful.
We tend to interpret negatively the response of the child who does not answer us, who does not look at us or who answers us with a tone we do not appreciate. We infer that he or she is not happy, upset or angry with us. This kind of response would be clear if it came from a neurotypical, but coming from a child with autism, we must not interpret it in the same way.
Don't take it personal and continue to try to involve the child in discussions. This will help bring him/her out of the perceptual and into the relational dimension with us.
If talking doesn't work, write!
If you are stuck in a verbal exchange with the child, try drawing a live picture in front of them. Using the visual channel is often a good way to explain something to a child with ASD. In many cases, you may see a light go on in their eyes!
Use live drawings rather than pictograms.
Paying attention to non-verbal communication
In many cases, the child with ASD does not master verbal communication as he or she would like. They develop gestures that often say much more than the words themselves.
Thus, be aware of non-verbal communication.
Talk about topics they like and want to talk about
Any excuse is a good one to work on the ASD child's language. You are probably not as much of a superhero fan as he or she might be, and the subject is not something you are passionate about. However, this is a good opportunity for you to practice communicating through speech.
Keep in mind that they are also children
There is no doubt that there is a world of difference between ASD children and neurotypicals. That being said, keep in mind that they are still children, with immature brains, habits and temperaments of their own.
With practice, you'll find that communication will improve. First news you'll get, he's no longer able to stop talking to you. 😊
With these 7 tips, you will be better able to have a conversation with them. With effort, you will foster their communication skills, teach them to communicate with others confidently, and thus enable them to become a functional and independent adult for the future.
If you have any needs or if you wish to benefit from a personalized support. Do not hesitate to contact me. I am located in Beauce in Notre-Dame-Des-Pins. I work in partnership with IDRCs, daycares, schools and others as needed.
If you have any questions or need personalized support, please do not hesitate to contact us.Please contact me.
And remember, the most important thing in raising your autistic child is love, understanding and patience. With these virtues, practice and dedication, you can guarantee the best for them and a full life!