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5 Tips for Communicating with Autism

April 17, 2014

Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with autism? If so, you may rely on adapted communication techniques so others can understand you.

The autism diagnosis implies an individual has unique challenges developing communication skills that are common in social interactions.


While many people do not interact with persons who have autism on a daily basis, because of the prevalence of this disorder, it is important that everyone learn effective ways to connect with these individuals.

This article prescribes five tips for communicating with autism. These suggestions are easy to remember because they have to do with your five senses. Instead of resorting to verbal communication or reading body language, think about engaging the five senses as you interact with adults and children who have autism.

Communicating with All 5 Senses

Sight– A common trait among people with autism is sensitivity to light. By avoiding environments with a lot of artificial light, as well as moving lights, you can help a person with autism not feel overwhelmed.

Sound– When speaking with a person who has ASD, if it seems he or she is distracted, make sure there is no background noise competing for his or her attention. By positioning yourself in close proximity to the individual, it is more likely that the focus will stay on you.

Touch– A side effect of autism can be hyper-sensitivity to touch. For this reason, be aware of how your body language may be distracting someone from listening to you.

Smell– Just like touch, people with autism can have a heightened sense of smell. Sometimes certain scents can trigger emotions or behaviors that are inappropriate during conversation. This may be a hard to avoid but it is important to have an awareness of this side effect.

Taste– Knowing the taste preferences of your loved one with autism may help create a good environment for communication. After all, a conversation always seems better over pizza.
Knowing how to connect with people who have autism is important, but it is not very different from how you communicate already. By being aware of the needs and preferences of a person with autism, you can create an environment that invites conversation. When it comes to communicating, let your five senses lead the way.


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