THE LANGUAGE OF AUTISM: HOW TO EFFECTIVELY COMMUNICATE WITH AND EMOTIONALLY CONNECT TO PEOPLE WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS

S. Altabet

University of Washington Autism Center (UNITED STATES)
People with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD's) are known to have communication deficits and distinctive styles of thinking that make it difficult for them to understand and relate to more typically developing peers, family members, educators, and other members of the community. These differences not only impact social interaction, but education and vocational development as well, resulting in severe underemployment of this popluation. This is particularly striking considering that many individuals with ASD's have average or above average intelligence. Consideirng that approximately 1% of the population has been diagnosed with an ASD, this group represents a tremendous waste of intellectual resources and manpower. While much of the intervention literature with ASD's involves teaching the person with an ASD to communicate more like those more typically developing, this author asserts that the key to successful intervention with persons who have an ASD is to communicate and relate to the person with the ASD in a manner that they best understand. I doing so, you will be able to gain that person's trust more easily and they will be more willing to consider what you have to tell them.

This paper/presentation will outline the techniques this author has found to be successul in communicating and establishing rapport and cooperation in people with ASD's. Areas to be addressed inlcude communication styles, emotional approaches, thinking patterns, social understanding, and persepctive taking. The goal will be to not only understand how people with ASD's typically function within these areas, but also how to adjust your communication style to meet the needs of these unique individuals.