Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects the way people communicate, how they are in public places and their behaviour. This can impact their ability to interact with others and navigate the world around them. Here at CT Skills, we created this blog to help you discover and learn about the different types of difficulties that children with autism may struggle with, as well as giving you some advice to be able to support them. We also do an ‘Understanding Autism‘ free online course which will give you more information and skills on autism.
One of the most common communication struggles that children with autism find hard to do is social communication. This can be noticed in a variety of ways, including struggling to keep eye contact, speech, and facial expressions. For example, children with autism may find it difficult to deal with body language, which then makes them struggle to understand others’ emotions and process them. Conversations can also be very difficult for children with autism to maintain. This can then make it difficult to create new friends or relations with others and family may find it hard to communicate.
Another factor of communication that children with autism sometimes struggle with is language development. Some children might start to have delayed speech and a lack of development in their language. Others may struggle with taking turns in conversing and understanding new and figurative language. Doing so can make it very hard for them to let others know their needs and wants but also make it hard to understand what others need too.
Sensory processing difficulties are also a regular thing to struggle with. This can make it difficult for them to communicate effectively. An example of this would be being sensitive to some textures and sounds which can increase difficulty in keeping a focus on things being said or stuff that is happening around them. It can also affect their communication towards others as they may get distracted by a certain texture or sound.
Children with autism may also find it difficult to filter out some information they do not need that was mentioned in a conversation. This can make it hard for them to find an appropriate response.
Finding out what parents, guardians or educators need to help support children with autism can be difficult to find. Here are some factors and solutions that may help:
- Helping them visually: A large majority of children with autism are visual learners and may find it beneficial to learn from the regular use of pictures, symbols, or written words. This can help them understand what you are trying to get across to them and they may find a way to communicate with you that suits them more comfortably.
- Softer language: Children with autism can find it very difficult to communicate the way others do. Speaking more clearly, slower and having a softer tone of voice can improve their understanding much more.
- Be clear and open: Some children with autism can find it difficult to understand instructions with many steps and complicated sentences. Breaking the instructions down into smaller steps, using clearer words and being open to questions will massively improve their understanding of the instructions you are trying to give.
- Give ‘going out’ a go: Children with autism can find it difficult to make friends as they struggle with communication. At a young age, it is very important to make sure you get the right amount of social interaction with others. This can improve their happiness, increase their friends and also let them learn new skills.
- Textures, lights and sounds: Textures can be a part of the difficulties children with autism face. They can find some unsettling, and some more comfortable. Some children like to feel new textures however may not like it if they don’t know the feeling. It’s the same for lights and noises. Sensory rooms and objects are a great way to keep children feeling safer and maybe want to discover new things safely.
In conclusion, children with autism have a common struggle with communication difficulties, but with the correct knowledge and support, they can learn and develop new skills which will be extremely helpful for social interactions and their education. At CT Skills, we also have a free online course on understanding autism here. The course is very helpful for educators, parents or guardians and friends. We hope this blog gave you the knowledge you were looking for! To keep up with us on socials, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin.