The Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 1 in every 44 children has been diagnosed with autism.
The CDC has also identified that autism affects at least 1 percent of the global population, making it the fastest-growing developmental disorder worldwide.
If we analyze this data profoundly, we can assume that autism is not only a condition that influences the lives of those diagnosed with it. But it also impacts our entire society.
Learning how to communicate with someone who has autism is more than a necessity these days, given the widespread misinformation and stigma surrounding the condition.
Autistic children and adults have the right to develop, communicate, and be understood in their own neurodiverse way. And for all neurotypical people, it is essential to empathize, get informed, and contribute to creating an optimal environment for everyone.
The people who interact closely with someone with autism spectrum disorder can profoundly impact their development by providing emotional and practical assistance. Unfortunately, finding all the guidance on assertively communicating is not easy or widely available.
BM Behavioral Center’s dedication to helping children diagnosed with autism has led to extensive study, collection, and dissemination of crucial information on the spectrum.
This guide will give you and your loved ones more behavioral resources to cope with the autism spectrum.
Let’s begin by elaborating on this condition’s aspects.
What is ASD?
“Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder that affects how people interact with others, communicate, learn, and behave.” – National Institute of Mental Health, 2022.
When first identified in the 1940s, autism was characterized by impaired social interaction. Today, there are about five different types of autism that affect individuals in different ways.
Autism, being a spectrum condition, includes a wide range of symptoms, some more severe than others. Interactions between genes and the environment are mainly responsible for these manifestations.
There is a social misperception that people with autism have their lives drastically disrupted, but this can’t be more away from reality.
Every person on the autism spectrum experiences the world in their own unique way. Some of them could need support with many daily tasks, while others might be able to get by with much less or even be entirely independent.
Signs and Symptoms of Autism
Again, since we are dealing with a spectrum, autism can present itself in various ways during the first few years of a child’s life. This is the critical period to determine if your children are on the spectrum, which is why knowing the symptoms is so important.
The following is a list of the most often studied autism symptoms.
If you have any reason to believe that your child or another family member may be on the spectrum, you can reach out to BM Behavioral Center for a more professional assessment.
The Three Main Characteristics of ASD
1. Difficulty in Social Communication
Social talks can be difficult and time-consuming for individuals with autism. Autistic adults and children may struggle to grasp how conversations flow, how to start and terminate them, and how to recognize sarcasm or humor.
2. Repetitive Behavior
Autism children may express repetitive actions such as rocking back and forth or flapping their hands. This form of activity assists them in coping with daily stress and lowering anxiety levels.
3. Restricted Interests
Individuals on the autistic spectrum may be hyper focused on specific topics to the exclusion of all others. Anything from animals to rewatching the same movie over and over again can fall into this category.
Why Is It Important to Know How to Talk to Someone With Autism?
People with autism have been bullied, rejected, and excluded. They might feel insecure when a new person approaches them due to their previous experiences working in their social interaction.
However, we are responsible for reaching them with love and kindness. Communicating correctly will benefit everyone involved because you will set an example for others to learn and make someone feel welcome.
How to Talk to Someone with Autism
Now that we’ve gone over the fundamentals of ASD that everyone should know, it’s time to learn the best ways to communicate and connect with your child (or anyone else).
1. Respect Their Space.
How they behave and want to be approached can vary greatly from one individual to another. Respect how they are comfortable with being approached and how close you can get to them.
2. Speak naturally.
Use your normal tone of voice, as you would with a new friend. Don’t talk down to people, and treat them with respect.
3. Be Patient.
Remember that people with the disease require more time to comprehend information and respond. As a result, it is critical to be patient when communicating with them and to give them time to understand what you have said before answering.
4. Be Direct
When talking to someone with autism, it is best to be straightforward and clear in conveying your message. Avoid using metaphors or jokes that might cause confusion or misunderstanding.
5. Ask How They Want to Be Addressed.
To establish a better connection, ask how they would like to be addressed, how they feel comfortable communicating and how you should act when in their presence.
6. Focus On Their Interests.
When talking with someone with autism, it is always best to focus the conversation on topics they are particularly interested in or passionate about. This will help them feel more comfortable and engaged in the conversation.
What Not to Do?
When speaking to someone autistic, do not use puns, double entendre, subtle humor, and sarcasm. They will not get what you implied, or they will understand it with a completely different meaning.
When having a conversation, do not expect eye contact when having a conversation, and please do not force it. Many might feel uncomfortable.
People with autism do not respond well to unannounced physical contact. Before anything, ask if they want to be touched. And if they say no, do not get offended.
Breaking the Communication Stigma Around ASD
It is of utter importance to understand how to communicate with someone who has autism to break the stigma that surrounds it.
Autism has, unfortunately, been viewed as an obstacle rather than an opportunity to learn how different individuals interpret the world. This is why it is important to understand how communication works and how to interact with people on the autism spectrum effectively.
Furthermore, breaking down the stigma surrounding autism is essential for creating an inclusive and supportive environment for autistic individuals and their families.
It is only through understanding how autism works and how to interact with those affected that we can foster a society that celebrates diversity and provides the necessary support.