Welcome to the 2018 series of the Louden on Autism Q & A . As many of you know, I receive questions every day, and I want to make sure that the answers to these important questions are being shared with all of you.
Please know that these are my opinions and my answers come from my research and my own personal experiences. Of course, each situation is different. All of us as people are different. And no two people with or without autism should be treated the same exact way.
This week, I received a question about communication in the early years. This is a very common question, so I thought I’d share my feelings in a post.
Was It hard to communicate at 2 years of age? My two year old seems to be sensory seeking and can talk, knows a lot of information. But he is very sensitive and struggles to use words. How does he feel in his mind? I just want to understand him better. I think he’s going to be a genius. Truly. I just want to foster what he’s capable of doing. Please advise!
Communication can be challenging at all ages with autism. I was particularly verbal and a young age, but that’s not the same as being communicative. Communication is more than just “saying words” and often those of us on the spectrum don’t communicate easily with those around us.
I would advise you to try to foster what skills he has already developed. Work to focus on encouraging general communication in ways he’s comfortable with, and worry about specific types (verbal, emotional) as it comes and goes. Focusing on types of communication that they might find uncomfortable or hard, or before growing a strong desire for communication, can encourage withdrawal. Why work on learning to do something you find uncomfortable and don’t find value in? Foster the value first, and the desire for skills can grow from that.
I always try to encourage people to play the long game. Don’t force someone to do something that “you” think is better for them this minute, because you “think” it might be the best way to handle a situation. But, instead, think about development over time and what is best for a person, a family, and the general life overall in the long term picture.
Overall, my best advice is to remember that for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, communication development happens differently and more slowly. Because of the sensory challenges associated with the disorder, children with autism might seem more interested in environmental sounds, like the whirring of a fan or vacuum than in the sound of people talking. They may seem distracted or even seem not to hear what people say. But in the end, let the child learn to develop on their own time and at their own pace. I surely think it will help them improve in all areas.
Thanks for reading. Check back soon for another Q&A.