Role of Communication in Handling Autistic Children
It is often seen in parents that there is a confusion between ADHD, Autism and SPD. Even clinicians find it hard to diagnose such children and adults, because of the fine line of difference between these three. Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD is difficult to understand as it covers a wide range of developmental disabilities, which can cause behavioral, social and communication problems. The way they process their information is different from other people. They interact, communicate and learn their surroundings in ways that may not be completely clear to most people. People with cases of ASD may range from mild to severe. Some may need constant surveillance while others with a few major difficulties may still be able to lead independent lives. With early and proper intervention, people affected with ASD can function better.
The Greek word ‘autos’ which means “self” is the origin of the word autism. Children and adults affected with ASD are often self-absorbed in their own private world, which makes communication or interaction extremely difficult for them. Developing language skills for better understanding and social interaction is the first steps that are taken for them to reach their full potential. Normally any clinician will recommend a speech language pathologist for a comprehensive evaluation of a child’s language auditory responses, so that a proper treatment program can be setup. But there is no need for their parents to sit idle during this time.
It is a fact that parents know their children best. Other than family, involvement of caregivers in the treatment program, if any, is also necessary for a better quality of life. Apart from scheduled sessions, you as a parent know well about your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, children are most open for communication around people they know and environments they are familiar with. There have been studies that support the fact that if parents interact with their children in a specific way, which will in turn motivate and encourage a two-way normal communication. You can make a significant change in their overall development by taking the full benefit of everyday activities that you do with your child.
Here are a few pointers for different situations:
- If you child doesn’t pay attention when spoken to -
- Use your child’s name at first before saying anything and direct their attention to you.
- Make it a point for eye contact when you need their attention. This means that they are ready to listen to you.
- Difficulty in processing information -
- When your child shows high signs of anxiety, reduce long sentences to basic communication.
- Use short sentences.
- Wait for a proper response or completion of a task by them before you repeat yourself or give the next instruction.
- Using too many questions is difficult for them to process.
- Your child may lash out on you if they show reluctance in doing something that you tell them to. Teach him/her on how to say/express no or stop.
- A quiet environment may not always be possible but try to keep the noise to a minimum.
- Provide opportunities for them to communicate. When singing songs to your child, pause and see if they sing the next verse. Sometimes you might be surprised.