Autism/communication

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Question
In the book Been there. Done this. Try that! we find the following quote:
Delayed processing.That is the first thing that comes to mind when emotions are involved.I cannot show emotions and intellect together at any given moment.

Does this make communication and relationships difficult for autistic people? What do you tell people who have this problem? How can austic people find good relationships and friendships if communication is difficult?

Answer
Hello John,

I would not focus particularly on that phrase, or definition if you will. Autism is a disorder that presents impairments in communication and language, especially on pragmatics which difficults successful trades of information between individuals. Autism is hypothesised to be related to a underdevelopment or impaired acquisition of theory of mind which is related to the ability to identify and respond accordingly to other people's feelings. Thus, as you may me may be able to infer, someone who presents issues in the aspects of relating to someone's behaviour and feelings, or only the ability to be able to express how they feel about other people's feelings, can greatly difficult the creation or continuity of a relationship.
Let me just clarify that nothing is absolute, so people with autism will have more or less communication and language impairments. This is especially true when children enroll in therapy from a young range.
What would I advise one to do? It really depends on the particular individual, however I usually think that improvement is a matter of how willing you are to experiencing change, which may be especially hard for people with autism who may not experience great advance in being more socially competent.
Finally, when someone has a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, I think that those who relate to that person need to acknowledge that this represents (but is not reduced to) some aspects of the person's personality, therefore, some adaptations on both parts need to be done. The person with autism needs to adaptat and try to understand social rules, even if initially in a mechanical manner. Also, individuals with autism should not undermine their value as friends just because they may experience difficults of some sort, everyone has their own characteristics which may be interpreted as flaws or not. As long as the person with autism spectrum disorder is able to respect the other person and respond to the person's needs as a friend, they should demand the same from everyone else.

I hope this answers your question, if not please contact me again.
I apologise for taking so long to answer,

Cátia.

Autism

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Cátia Oliveira

Expertise

Being a speech therapist and a homeschool teacher I can answer questions related to communication, speech, interaction, relations with others, intervention, education and especially family and community respect for the amazing individuals that children with autism have proven to be in my career. I am especially interested in theory of mind development.

Experience

I have been a speech therapist for more than three years. I have been practicing both in clinic, educational and home settings. In have been working with children with autism for a long time and I have known children with autism with extremely different characteristics which provided me with the expertise to understand this developmental disorder with more accuracy.

Education/Credentials
I have a degree in speech therapy from Escola superior de tecnologia da saúde do porto and i have been a frequent presence on seminars and workshops about communication and language. Also, I have a great interest for autism and I have been researching this field for a long amount of time.

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