Saturday, November 5, 2016

How to Talk to a Person With Autism Who Seems to Ignore You

If you tried to talk to our son, you might find that he would avoid eye contact and probably would hum while you spoke. I suspect that our son is not unique in this. In fact, there is a young man in our church who is very similar. What should you do if you find yourself in such a situation? Here are some pointers.

  • Don't force them to give you eye contact. Parents might do this on occasion, but there usually is a reason why they are avoiding eye contact. You might find that if you don't push the issue that they might give you more eye contact as they get to know you more.
  • Don't raise your voice. Unless there are additional hearing deficits, yelling will make them less likely to listen to you.
  • Just because they seem to be ignoring you, don't assume that they are not listening.
  • Talk to the person with autism and not the person with them. Address them directly.
  • If they don't answer a question, don't keep repeating it.
  • Look at them directly and smile.
  • Don't speak to them like they are a little child (unless they are a little child). Many people with autism who are nonverbal have normal or above normal intelligence. Do not judge their intellect by their communication difficulties.
  • Don't give up, no matter how much they may seem to ignore you. Greet them with the same enthusiasm every time you see them. It really matters.

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