Kids & Parenting

Autism social communication skills

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autistic child
The earlier autism is diagnosed, the better the outcome is
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Autism social communication is achievable but challenging

Autism refers to a complex disorder of brain development. Those with the condition have problems communicating. Autism social communication skills can be developed to a degree with time, patience and proper instruction.

The person with this disorder has issues with social interactions, non-verbal and verbal exchanges and engages in recurring behaviors. The psychological response and the person's understanding of the world, his feedback to stimuli and formation of relationships does not follow archetypal patterns.

Symptoms of this disorder crop up when a child is between two and three-years-old, although it is believed to manifest early in brain development.

The earlier the diagnosis the better the outcome is. The early use of teaching tools designed specifically for working with autistic children can be invaluable to both parents and teachers.

Exchanging information

Communicating involves talking but also the use of non-verbal behavior, such as gestures, facial expressions and eye gaze and contact. Talking allows a person to express his feelings, ask for what he wants, solve problems and share concepts.

Children with this condition do not develop communications skills the same way non-autistic children do. There are sensory challenges linked to this disorder and, as a result, kids are intrigued by sounds, such as the noise made by a lawnmower, and not particularly interested in what people are saying to them or around them. The autistic child appears preoccupied.

These children may have a delay in speech and if and when they do start talking their first utterance may be something unusual such as echoing others or saying numbers.

Early speech intervention is the key. Parents must be pro-active and recognize the import of speech therapy at an early age. When an autistic child is involved in daily activities and interactions with parents and family member he learns how to better express himself.

Transmission problems often crop up among the autistic including poor attention span, lack of eye contact and issues when it comes to the normal "give and take" occurring in conversational exchanges. Some never speak, remaining un-speaking throughout life. Even though they may not speak, they may be literate and read.

Instead of communicating in a standard fashion they may do so by using Sign Language or via visual clues or images or typing. Some will use single words only or repeat a mocked phrase time and time again. Others repeat something heard earlier, over and over. Many adults with autism find it calming to issue repetitions in a sing-song manner.

Those who don't have autism find it difficult to understand the body language of those with this disorder. This stalls the exchange of information and leads to frustration on the non-speaking person's part, which can escalate to grabbing and even screaming because this is the only way the person knows to get someone's attention. This frustrations manifests in social anxiety and depression as well as obsessive disorders.


There isn't one specific type of intervention or treatment that remedies these problems. Intercession must be customized to meet the individual's needs, aimed at both communication and behavior. The parents must be involved in the process if the patient is a child.

Some may never learn to speak but can learn to participate in gestured communications. Some use picture boards (symbol system) to express their needs.

Physical and occupational therapy is beneficial. It addresses undesirable behaviors that skew the process of learning communication skills.

Behavior modification is another approach as is music therapy and sensory integration therapy, which help the child react to information from the senses.

At times, medication is useful. it extends the person's attention span and diminishes undesirable behaviors but long-term use is not advised because of side effects.

It may be those with autism have more natural opiates in their brain which means they are less inclined to engaged socially because they don't need socializing to activate these bliss-inducing opiates.

A medication called naltrexone can be given to block the effects of these innate opiates and this sometimes leads to more effective communication.

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