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How to Communicate with a Person with Autism

Part of the Understanding Autism For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Communication is one of the biggest challenges for people with autism. To engage in conversation with someone with autism, you need to shift your expectations and perhaps your style of communication a bit. The tips in the following list can help you understand and be understood by a person with autism:

  • Speak slowly and clearly, and don’t expect an immediate response.

  • Be gentle, persistent, and patient. Don’t rush the person.

  • Provide direct instruction in social rules. Teach an emotional vocabulary.

  • Keep your communications simple. Don’t overwhelm.

  • Don’t force eye contact or touch.

  • Encourage special interests, but teach give-and-take in conversation.

  • Demonstrate behaviors, allowing time for observation and reflection.

  • Pay attention to non-verbal signals.

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