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Lost in Translation?

Limit verbal communication

When in an environment occupied with lights, sounds, anxiety, and strange people or when in a stressful situation, verbal communication can exacerbate the situation. It may add to the over-stimulation your child is facing, and may frustrate you when your child is unresponsive. Non-verbal communication – gestures, visual icons, expressions – are often much easier for your child to reference and understand when in one of these situations. Non verbal communication can reduce processing time. If, however, using non-verbal communication is a struggle, parents can work to limit their verbal directions to 5 words or less.

Finding the right time

Finding the right time to address issues or concerns is key. The right time to communicate about any issue is not when your child is having a difficulty with regulation. When individuals are becoming agitated, their auditory processing becomes less efficient and may stop all together. Verbal communication becomes noise and can contribute to over-stimulation. Parents can help their child regulate before any teaching or communication is to take place. When your child is regulated they will be able to respond to your communication appropriately and fully process what you want to share.

Keeping regulated

Often, individuals with autism are sensitive to the feelings of those around them and are therefore are affected by frustration, excitement, worry or other emotions. This impedes their ability to interact with you appropriately. Individuals often face sensory sensitivities and have to wade through each one to communicate with others. As a parent, maintaining your regulation will allow your child to understand your communication without it being obstructed by your emotion.

You are the most important person in your child’s life and hopefully these strategies will help you.

Increasing communication between you and your child will maximize successes and minimize breakdowns. Written by Joseph Mainez Joseph is an Autism Specialist employed by asdconsultancy. You can contact him at

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