Reasons why Autistic Children might find it hard to communicate
People with autism may use spoken language in a different manner from the others. While some may have no problem in communicating, others speak in a way that has marked differences than native speakers of the language. This is why children with autism are often taught usage of nouns in a comprehensive manner while labeling objects.
Therapists and social skills teachers work on speech and communication skills of autistic children. They teach skills like how to ask and answer a question, how to choose appropriate topics for conversation, how to make eye contact etc.
Here is why autistic children find it challenging to communicate in a social setting:
- A lot of children on the spectrum cannot process language as easily and rapidly as their peers. As a result, they take longer to make sense of a statement, craft an appropriate response and say what they actually want to say. As the conversation moves swiftly, a lot of people on the spectrum find it difficult to catch up.
- Those on the spectrum may respond inappropriately to sarcasm and humor. This is because they have difficulty separating humor from statements of facts. Even abstract ideas and idioms may be tricky for them while deciphering. Unless the speaker is careful while explaining the meaning or intent, autism children may most likely feel stressed while reacting.
- People with autism have a different rhythm, volume and prosody while speaking, when compared to others their age. They may sound flat, loud, soft or just plain different even while using appropriate words.
- Those who have autism tend to “script” their conversations, or borrow common phrases that they hear on TV, videos or from others. This helps them respond quickly with appropriate language but it can also get embarrassing for them if others recognize where the phrase is coming from.
- Children with autism often repeat themselves as compared to their typical peers. This can cause trouble sometimes even with reasonable conversation when they repeat the same thing over and over again.
- Autistic children are often over-focused on their particular interests. They may use conversational tools such as a “wedge” in order to talk at length about their favorite topic. This may be alright unless the conversational partners find it frustrating.
- While social skills training is useful in most cases, it can also create misunderstandings about how spoken and body language should be used in a specific settings. It is important that therapists pay attention to the individual needs of the child and not over-emphasize social skills to avoid odd behavior. Helping autistic children communicate better, even though not necessarily leading to an improvement, can boost their confidence.