Engagement and communication
Communication can be difficult for some autistic people. They may have difficulties initiating interactions or responding to others. Processing time is often affected so it may take an autistic individual longer to react to conversation.
Every autistic person will have their own preferred method of communication. They may communicate vocally, or they may use other systems such as sign or a voice output communication device (VOCA). Here are some simple things you can do to support them:
- Observe how the person chooses to interact and how long it takes them to process what you are saying or doing. You can then adjust your communication. You might need to:
- Use their name to make sure they know you are talking to them directly
- Make sure any instructions are short and clear to avoid overloading with information
- Be mindful of noisy environments as this may affect how a person processes information
- Avoid using figurative language
- Talk slowly so they have more time to process
- Avoid asking open-ended questions, be clear on what you are asking
- Use visuals. If the person you are talking to finds visuals easier to understand, try to use where possible
Find out more about individual communication methods here.
Behaviour is a form of communication. Therefore, autistic people may display different behaviours to try to communicate their needs, wants or feelings. Some of these behaviours can be perceived as challenging and may affect their wellbeing or that of those around them. Understanding why these behaviours occur is an important step to helping to find alternative and more effective means of communication. For more information on behaviour as communication click here.
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