Some tips to remember when talking to kids with autism
When you talk or interact with a child who has autism, it might not necessarily go well the first time. There are numerous reasons to it. These tips will help your interaction go better.
10-year-old Vikas* (name has been changed) who has autism loves to accompany his mom to the supermarket. On some days, he gets anxious when he is around a crowd. But instead of support, Vikas and his mother are frowned upon by other shoppers. This is clearly due to lack of awareness about autism. Most people do not know how to interact with a child under autism spectrum. The child as well as his family undergoes unwanted stress due to this.
Pratibha Bhatnagar, mother to a young adult with autism has the right advice on what all a person must remember when they talk to a kid with autism.
“People with autism are sensitive and emotional. So when you interact with them, it is important to keep this in mind. They have sensory issues owing to which their actions will also be different from others. They need our support to grow. Give them respect and interact with them normally. It is high time society starts becoming more aware about disabilities”, she says.
Check out these tips.
- Make an effort to talk to them– Yes, talking to a child with autism might not be easy since they might not clearly understand what you are trying to convey. So most people conveniently avoid them. Take an effort to talk because it can help you and the child. If the child doesn’t respond to you, it doesn’t mean that they are not interested or doesn’t like you. They are just trying to figure out how and what to respond.
- Pick topics that interests them– When you are trying to have a conversation, always pick some topics that would interest them. Being obsessed with something is part of their condition. Try and bring up the topic on what they like best and you would see how well they respond. This can be about their favorite toy, book or food.
- Keep it to the point– Using metaphors and abstract sentences will not help you or the child because they will not be able to figure out what you are trying to tell. It is always best to keep your sentences direct yet short. Make sure you talk to them in calm, composed and slow tone. Give them time to process what they hear.
- Writing helps too– Did you know that children with autism connect immensely to visuals? So if your talking doesn’t help, try writing things in order to communicate with them better. Sometimes they might not understand what you are saying, but will surely do if you draw it out.
Trupti Patil, founder of Aarambh special school has some tips.
“Most of the children who are non-verbal might not be too expressive. But they understand things well. Since they have short attention span, it is best to communicate to them in small sentences which are short yet clear. Using flashcards and telling stories help them a lot to understand things better”, she says.
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