Communication is different depending on the individual child. Those with low-functioning autism may struggle to understand and comprehend some things, whereas those with high-functioning autism may understand and comprehend more, but may find it boring or illogical, and so not be interested in listening, and then there are all of the people in-between. As someone with autism I have always found it easier to understand and communicate with animals than people. This is because animals generally don’t have multiple levels of communication. If an animal is calm it communicates calm, if it is scared it communicates fear, if it feels the need to fight it communicates aggression. People have subtle expressions of communication which are very difficult to understand, they also have mismatching communication, they may smile and say everything is okay, while actually being angry about something, and then when you assume they are okay – because that is what they have said, they get annoyed that you didn’t realise they were angry.
This really gives an idea for how best to communicate with those with autism. They need the communication to be clear and unambiguous, so say what you mean, say what you want to happen and expect to happen, and make sure that your verbal and non-verbal (including tone of voice) communication matches up. Be as precise in your communication as possible. If you don’t want your child to run, don’t say “don’t run” because that doesn’t communicate what you want, it only communicates what you don’t want, so it is likely to create confusion. Say “walk”. If you don’t want them jumping on the furniture, don’t say “don’t jump on the furniture”, say “sit down”. Often those with autism will need you to be clear and make firm decisions where they struggle to do so, and to help them make decisions by reducing options down to just two choices for them to decide between, and if they can’t decide then you select for them. You could ask “what would you like to do today?” If they say they don’t know, then you could say “would you like to do x or y today?” or even better “which of these would you like to do today, x or y?”. If they still can’t decide you can say “we will be going out in x minutes, so get your shoes and coat on, we are going to y today.” You will know with your own child what is best for them and what is the best wording (also based on how you would naturally say these things, rather than just using my wording), whether they are good at making decisions themselves, or whether they can make decisions if they have just a couple of options to choose from, or whether they need to be told what will be happening. It is very comforting to have the structure of being told what will be happening, as long as those things are things you are comfortable doing.
Look Into My Eyes: Asperger’s, Hypnosis, & Me by Dan Jones is available in Paperback & Kindle Here is a link to your local Amazon store: http://apn.to/prod/1542551196