Jul 18, 2014

Autism Characteristics - Communication

Although we know that all individuals with autism are unique and not everyone has the same characteristics, we do know that there are some characteristics that are common in some people with autism.  Communication challenges are well noted in people with autism.  Even if the person is able to speak, some of the non-verbal communication and social interaction can be challenging.  Here is a look at a few things you may notice in the area of communication:
  • Use of gestures or pointing, rather than words. (For some people.)
  • Echolalia (repeating words or phrases). For example, the person might say lines from a movie, commercial or book over and over. 
  • Atypical patterns of speech (learning specific phrases) without much variation to the phrase.
  • Limited interest social interaction for some people. 
  • Limited skills in social interaction even when there is a desire to interact.
  • Limited eye contact for some individuals.
  • Trouble with pragmatics and the social cues and social rules that revolve around language.
  • Ritualistic play patterns (spinning, lining objects) in some children who tend to “play” the same way each time.  This may also be seen in children who tend to be very strict about how the play occurs.
  • Limited joint attention to things that others are attending to.  This is a critical skill because learning most often occurs when you are attending to the same thing as others.

Communication skills (which can be in non-verbal ways) and social skills grow with practice and commitment. It is our responsibility to learn how to become a good communication partner and learn what we can about reaching out to our students and family members with autism. 

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