A lot has been said about Autism and how it manifests through the child’s behavior. But have you ever wondered why they act the way they do? Why do they have difficulty in what seems like is very normal and natural such as eye contact? What really goes inside the mind of a child with Autism?
The simple explanation for this is that, just like a computer, our brains have wires that transmit messages to one another in order to do a specific body function such as language, social skills, movement and etc. So, imagine what if these wires are faulty and out of place? Communication between these wires is now difficult which leads to the unperformed body functions or behaviors.
That is why simple things for normal people such as talking, listening, expressing themselves and relating to others is a challenge for these children. Things that may seem to be very easy and simple for you is really hard for them. Their brains are entirely different from us. That is why an in-depth understanding coupled with immense patience for these kids is very important.
So now, how do you talk to a child who has difficulty in communication?
Below are some tips that can help you communicate and interact with your child:
Be patient and understanding
Keep in mind that communication and listening skills are challenges for your child.
Simplify your Language
Try to speak in single words or short phrases. This will help your child understand what you are trying to say. Explain things in a simple, slow and specific manner. Avoid using long sentences when talking to them. It also helps to let your child have his time to respond. Let him process first what you just said. Be observant and check for nonverbal cues as it may be your child’s way of responding.
Try to call them by their name first before saying anything else, it helps in getting their attention.
Do not force eye contact
Forcing eye contact from your child is strenuous for them. It would take a lot of effort from them to do so, which in turn takes away your child’s ability to listen and focus on what you are saying. It is okay for your child not to look at your eyes or your face.
Do not shout
Bear in mind that a child with autism is usually sensitive to sound and lights. Most of the time your child may not respond to you, but do not yell at them. They do not like being yelled at, well even adults do not want to be yelled at right? Do not use punishment to get their attention. Trying to control them will not help; rather they need to be understood.
Try to imitate some of their actions, sometimes this gets their attention and they imitate you back.
Children with autism tend to respond on positive reinforcements. Rewarding them when they have a good behavior also helps.