Autism and Communication

I think because we neurotypicals (non-autistics) tend to speak a “similar” language that we make assumptions about how others communicate. But theses assumptions are cultural and not all of the “rules” carry over from culture to culture. Body language is different, the same gestures carry different meanings (eye contact, hand gestures, etc.). By opening our eyes, hearts and minds we can learn much and cross bridges of communication we didn’t know existed. Stop, look, listen, and don’t take things for granted – a great policy in general 😉

Restless Hands

I am increasingly convinced that we need to come up with a different set of milestones for how less verbally-inclined people learn language. Over and over, I see studies where researchers and educators work very hard (and not always successfully) to get autistic kids to meet the various stages of typical language development… contrasted with numerous stories in which autistic kids, teens, and even adults finally acquire language skills (verbal or written) in unexpected ways after years of ineffective therapy (well-known examples include Carly, Emma, Tito, Larry and Tracy, and more recently Drew, Mike, and Ethan).

Sometimes, the language acquisition is described as “sudden” or “umprompted.” Other times it is the definite result of deliberate struggle. But in either case, it seems clear to me that the professionals invariably mis-evaluate the person’s communication potential because they are looking for the “typical” developmental stages rather…

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