Autism is a mental disorder that occurs due to genetic disorders in brain development. It is characterized by limited interests, repeated actions, as well as a lack of social interaction. Autism begins to manifest itself from the age of 3, although some symptoms occur earlier.
In Russia, autism is practically not investigated, and therefore we do not have sensible statistics. But this disorder is ubiquitous - and it prefers, by the way, namely boys.
An autistic child looks at the world in a special way, therefore, an autistic child also needs its own special approach. These are not mental sick children, they are not dangerous, often they are pleased to be in the company of peers. With a competent approach, a socialized adult can grow from an autistic baby.
Below we will tell you what rules to follow when dealing with an autistic person.
What to do if the child is autistic
Autism is not always characterized by intellectual or physical abnormalities; moreover, many autists achieve significant success in some kind of activity. The peculiarity of autists is the inability to establish contact with other people as quickly and easily as “healthy” people do.
Symptoms of childhood autism include:
- reduction or complete absence of the need to communicate with other people,
- dislike for change, even if it concerns a simple rearrangement of furniture,
- craving for sorting and folding things - that is, for "stereotypical" games and activities,
- aggression against “strangers” or even family members,
- there may be problems with concentration during training.
Autism begins to be diagnosed from the age of 3, but some features of the child’s behavior appear earlier. For example, a baby may seek solitude, show indifference in response to parental affection, and sharply and suddenly react to any changes in the surrounding reality.
Many children show a lack of understanding of the concept of self-care - they learn to wash late, use toilet paper, hold a plug and brush their teeth. At the same time, autism is far from always mentally retarded. Many famous geniuses, including Van Gogh, Mozart, Maria Curie and Perelman, suffered from autism spectrum disorders.
How to build communication with an autistic child
The main difference between autism and others is its unique perception of the world. And your task is to adapt to his perception, and not try to impose your own.
1. Communicate with your child on topics that interest him : so you will reveal the baby for further relationships. For example, a child loves dogs. Start a conversation with him about dogs, and the baby will show interest in you.
2. Communicate in short sentences. This rule is suitable for children who have difficulty understanding speech. It is worth noting that not all autists are able to accept long sentences, so look according to the circumstances! In rare cases, you may even need to switch to a letter.
3. Draw the diagrams! Most autistic people have excellent visual thinking, it is much easier for them to perceive the idea drawn on paper. Having compiled a kind of “drawing language”, over time, you will learn how to communicate effectively with your baby. And experts recommend drawing up a daily chart using color - the child will perceive and learn it faster.
4. Give your child time. After asking a question, wait until the baby comprehends it and gives you an answer. Do not rush, do not get angry, do not ask the next question - do not drive the child into an awkward and panic state.
5. Use plain language. An autist may not catch metaphors, comparisons, euphemisms, and jargon, so use the same words day after day. For example, sitting down at the table, name dishes and objects the same way so that the child does not get lost.
6. Be careful. Be sensitive and involved. Do not think that if the child is silent or does not respond to your affection, then he is deliberately trying to hurt you. Treat this with understanding.
7. Speak specifically and without irony. Autists have a poor perception of jokes and irony, the ability to abstract thinking appears later in them, and many may not appear at all. The child takes your every phrase with the utmost seriousness - and answers the same way.
It is important that the conversation with the autistic begins specifically, for example, with the question: “What are you doing now?” Or: “What kind of toy is this?” Autists have a poor perception of vague and meaningless phrases in the spirit of "How are you?" And asking him a question, be prepared to hear a specific answer.
How to communicate with an autistic child: practical tips
These tips were developed by psychologists from the French Hospital Research Center of Brest. We hope that they will help you establish an easy and comfortable relationship for both sides.
- Keep a diary. Write down your actions related to the child there. Subsequently, this will help you to correlate between your actions and the baby’s reaction.
- Start your day by developing a clear plan that you follow strictly. Excluding, of course, force majeure situations.
- Do your best to make contact with your child.
- Get a pet. It is known that an autistic child contacts animals more willingly than with people. A puppy or kitten will help the baby develop empathy, participation, the ability to take care of others. In addition, the little animal will take it, bring a little positive and positive emotions to your home.
- Chat with parents of autistic children! It was proved that participation in a commune of people with a similar problem increases “morale”, allows you to share lessons learned and more effectively deal with troubles. Remember that you are not the only person who has encountered a problem. You have associates who may become your friends in the future.
Autism is not a disease; autistic children are not disabled. These are just special people who need to find an approach. They also know how to love and want to be loved, and it is in your power to give them that.
Speech and communication for a child with autism: everything is not like everyone else
Defectologist Natalya Kerre has been working with families with children with autism for more than 20 years. Her book "Special Children: How to Give a Happy Life to a Child with Developmental Disabilities" may be useful to all parents who feel that something is wrong with the child. We have already talked about how autism can manifest itself. Today - about the features of speech and communication in children with autism. What prevents them from learning to speak and adapt in society?
So far, no specific signs have been identified to diagnose autism in infancy. However, parents quite often mention two behaviors of children who were subsequently diagnosed with autism.
Option one is overly anxious children, who are difficult to calm down, who have a “knocked down” regime, so they confuse day and night, don’t calm down when they are picked up, don’t take a comfortable pose, but freeze like planks, or on the contrary, they "spread" hand.
The second option is, on the contrary, the children are very “comfortable”, who are always happy with everything, who can be left alone from the first days, and they, as parents recall, “could always occupy themselves” and calmed down faster when they were not picked up or stroked, but left alone. Such children may prefer wallpaper drawing, crumbs falling into the crib, shadows on the wall, etc.
Among the common signs of babies who were later diagnosed with autism, the following are usually noted: avoidance of eye contact, obvious displeasure from contact with people (calms down faster when he is left alone), instability of auditory perception (he hears speech addressed to him, he does not hear )
Why is it difficult for a child with autism to communicate
A child without developmental features reaches for a close adult who talks with him after three months - smiles in response to a smile, vocalizes, reacting to the speech addressed to him. A child who does not have autism shows adequate emotional reactions from an early age: he calms down faster when his mother picks him up, rejoices when his parents come to his bed, does not like to be alone in a room for a long time.
From an early age, children with autism have problems associated with social skills (imitation, orientation to social stimuli, concentration of attention with other people on the same objects, recognition of the emotional states of people around them, participation in games that require the use of imagination and submission general rules). At older ages, such children, even if they have developed speech, are rarely the first to come in contact with others, which may create the illusion of “total non-contact” of autists.
According to modern data, children with autism want to communicate no less than their normally developing peers, but it’s more difficult for them to understand what needs to be doneto establish communication, they quickly get tired and are exhausted from the society of people, especially at crowded events. Such children have a weakly expressed social orientation of their own behavior, as well as susceptibility to the social aspects of other people's behavior, they rarely share their feelings and emotions with others, although such children are often very vulnerable and susceptible, but it is difficult for them to recognize and express what they feel in words.
Children with autism also experience difficulties in recognizing other people's emotions by body movements, gestures, facial expressions and voices, that is, it is difficult to formulate those social skills that are formed automatically during normal development.
Autistic children differ in the expression of their own emotional states. These expressions are often characterized by the limited and involuntary use of expressive gestures and eccentric, slurred or involuntary facial expressions.
Autistic children have problems associated with co-directed social attention, that is, the ability to direct the attention of another person to an object of common interest, which normally manifests itself by the age of 12-15 months. A child with autism can bring to another person an object of interest to him or point to him, but he usually does this only when he wants another person to do something for him: he gave a toy, candy, and helped turn on the TV.
At the same time, the child does not seek to establish contact with another person and find common interest with him in order to enjoy the process of communication. He rarely attracts others to share with them emotions from the knowledge of the world: to show an adult a beautiful butterfly, an interested car, a cat.
Looking at a human face, children often pay attention to its separate parts: nose or mouth, not perceiving the face as a whole (children with autism usually have problems with remembering and recognizing faces, children may not recognize a person if he is dressed differently, put on cap or changed hairstyle).
Speech development in autism
With autism, serious speech and communication disorders are often found, which manifest themselves at an early age and persist for a long time, in especially severe cases - throughout life.
One of the first signs of speech impairment in autism is the incomplete use of pre-speech means of communication: the child does not use gestures to draw the attention of an adult to the object that interests him (although he can point to the object that he wants, but cannot reach). For example, it doesn’t show mom the fish in the aquarium that attracted his attention, but shows (with his own hand or using the hand of an adult) that toy on the shelf that he needs: that is, he uses instrumental gestures to help him realize what he wants, but Does not use expressive gestures to convey their own feelings.
Many children with autism begin to speak with a significant delay. Often, parents say that the child began to speak in accordance with the age norm, but then the speech gradually regressed or there was a sharp stop in speech development.
When children begin to speak, speech is peculiar: at first glance, it is generally poorly correlated with the situation in which communication takes place. Autistic children, unlike children without features, prefer non-speech sounds. Many of them have a reversion of pronouns (the child does not say “I” about himself, calls himself in the second or third person, for example, instead of “I want candy”, he says “Do you want candy”, “Seryozha wants candy”) and echolalia when the child in response, either repeats the answer, slightly changing the intonation: "Will you go for a walk?" - “You’ll go for a walk” (yes), or use quotes from advertisements, favorite cartoons: “Do you want to eat?” - “Heinz ketchup is the best ketchup”, etc.
In addition, sometimes the child pronounces words or quotes over and over again outside the communication situation (both words and quotes can be quite complex).
Echolalia is often regarded by the family and specialists as a serious and hopeless speech disorder, and they do not always work on it. However the appearance of echolalia is a good sign, because in the case of autism, she testifies that the child wants to communicate, although she does not really understand how to do this, and uses the means available to him. By the mechanism of use, echolalia is very similar to how a person learns a foreign language: first he memorizes a number of patterns, then he masters improvisation.
In children with autism, seriously "intuitive sense of language" suffers, which is normally innate, and they really learn their native language as a foreign language. If the child is not helped, speech may remain at the level of only patterns and its use for communication will be severely limited.
However, if you work purposefully on echolalia, in most cases on its basis you can develop a child’s speech, more or less close to our usual, although this process is not very fast. Some originality, limitation and "stamping" of speech can remain for life, but this will be the level that will allow you to communicate effectively with others and successfully socially adapt.
Also, children often have problems with matching words at the grammatical level, it’s hard for them to understand the figurative meaning ("steep mountain - steep egg - tough guy", etc.), guess riddles, interpret proverbs and sayings. Often the understanding of a phrase is assigned to the situation in which it was used. (The girl is scolded at school for fighting. The phrase “You can’t be ruffian” for her refers only to the situation “You can’t fight” and is not at all transferred to other unapproved social situations.)
It is difficult for children to understand complex instructions. Therefore, at the initial stage of correction, communicating with children, you need to use the most simple phrases, clear instructions, if possible, avoid diminutive forms of the word, because for an autistic child, the “ball” and “ball” can be completely different objects, nothing to do with each other not related.
Autistic children are usually difficult to master speech ethicst (“thank you”, “please”, “hello”, which a neurotypic child learns automatically with little tips from adults, for a child with autism will be completely zero information that does not carry any meaning, and he naturally will not use it). At an older age, children with autism have problems understanding and retelling, answering questions, etc.
Thus, a huge part of speech problems is related to the fact that children do not understand that speech can be used for communication, information transfer, and solving social issues.
How to teach a child with autism to talk
Does all this mean that a child with autism will never be able to fully communicate with the outside world? Of course not. The painstaking and lengthy work allows him to develop his speech to a more or less acceptable level, to teach him to observe the norms of speech etiquette, to communicate with his family and external society.
True, some children with autism do not begin to speak, but even with them it is possible to improve understanding of conversations, to teach them how to follow instructions. Perhaps, in this case, training in alternative communication methods will help you - using cards, a tablet, etc. However, I believe that at first it makes sense to try to develop oral speech, but if there is no progress in this direction, then only turn to alternative communication.
Sometimes autistic children show amazing and seemingly unexpected results. For the most part, they learn letters very early, many easily learn to read (usually for them, the method of teaching global reading is more productive than the traditional method of sequential reading). Ни в коем случае не игнорируйте возможность использовать навык чтения для развития устной речи: иногда ребёнку проще отвечать на те вопросы, которые написаны, осваивать новые слова и правила построения фразы по тексту, который у них перед глазами.
Как общаться с ребенком-аутистом?
У каждого аутиста наблюдаются серьезные проблемы с общением
And therefore, just to be near him, not to mention the interaction, a number of rules should be observed
If you are the parent of such a special baby, then, over time, you will find an approach to him, tune in to him, showing your instinct
If an autistic child was born with your relatives or friends, you will have to master the basics of interacting with him in advance so as not to damage his already damaged psyche
In any case, the information below can help you make contact with this unusual person.
7 main ways to communicate with an autistic
This is the basis of the interactions with autistic children.
Not every person can withstand the slowness and monotony of such a baby
Not everyone will like that his the questions and tokens are ignored
Not everyone is able to come to terms with the asocial behavior of a special child
Add to this the whims, tantrums, disobedience
Autistic children in their entire environment check their patience and also teach adults to develop this valuable quality of character.
Just always remember that they behave this way not out of harm - they are hurt and scared
But they have the right to life and to be like that.
Try to be calm and express towards such a baby only positive emotions
Try to accept them
Communication with special children is very subtle art
How to take into account their dissimilarity to other people, but not focus on these traits?
How to make contact with an autist without constantly reminding him that he is not like everyone else?
Try to just accept as a fact that there are such people, that among your friends or relatives there is also such a person
You need to communicate with him patiently, but you should not forget that he is just a child who also needs clear-cut boundaries and an edifying attitude from adults
Share their interests with them
Each person, regardless of whether they are healthy or have their own physiological characteristics, is endowed with a number of talents
So little autistic people have their own hobbies.
Take a closer look at such a baby - maybe he
or selflessly aligns all his cars
or day after day just picking up pebbles on the beach
If you show a true interest in his activities, you can become for an autistic child something like a friend
Just join him when he is looking for stones for his collection.
Give him cars
Praise and hang in the frame of his picture
You will see how such simple tokens are beneficial for a special child.
Professional psychologist shares secrets of communication with autistic people
Talk to them
Always speak with a small autistic person, even if he does not yet own a speech , even if in response he pronounces a single meaningless word
Always pronounce your emotions, your actions, your intentions
So, by personal example, you teach a child to communicate, establish an invisible connection with him, lay a program in his brain that, over time, can be activated by your own efforts
If your child speaks a little, then, again, be patient when he slowly and incomprehensibly expresses his thoughts
Do not interrupt autism
Do not customize it
Do not negotiate for him
It is very important!
You can squat in front of him when he is trying to say something, look into his eyes, hold his hand
So you give the special child tremendous support
Always reinforce your speech with gestures
Autistic children tend to have difficulty understanding speech
In communicating with them, the rule works perfectly: “It’s better to see once than hear a hundred times”
If you are calling your baby to you, make a gesture with your hands
Point out the items you want to receive from him.
Always keep micro targets in your head
Whatever you are going to do with an autistic child, always plan your goal
now we go for a walk
now he will eat a bowl of soup
now he will master this exercise
Aimless communications will not lead to positive results.
Your global goal of rebuilding small autism should be made up of hundreds of small goals every day that you must achieve
Just love them
Does your autistic child know how to talk?
Does he progress fast
Does it let you sleep at night
In any case, he, like every child, needs love
Try to show this feeling as often as possible in relation to the baby - kiss, hug him, if he, of course, lets do it , tell him about it, give your attention, your care, your warmth
And he will reciprocate
We guarantee this and invite you to health recovery programs children with autism, in the framework of which we successfully treat them beekeeping products and special diet