@Anonymous I can imagine how confusing this behaviour must be for you. However, social disconnection is a striking feature of autism. Children with autism appear unable to interpret the social world and its oft-unspoken cues. They are said to have ‘mindblindness’ or the lack of ability to take another person’s perspective, and respond accordingly. This makes it difficult for them to display social and emotional responsiveness. Thus, neither are they able to express their own needs clearly nor are they able to understand and interpret the needs of others. They also display difficulties in social interaction, and need to be taught social skills (for example, which make participating in conversations easier) explicitly. So expecting your child to respond the way you want will likely set you up for disappointment. You can try the following strategies for communicating with your child, but kindly remember that each child with autism is unique, and what may work with one child with autism may not work with another: a) Encourage play: Children learn through play, and that includes learning language. Interactive play provides enjoyable opportunities for you and your child to communicate. Try a variety of games to find those your child enjoys. Also try playful activities that promote social interaction. For example, singing, reciting songs or rhymes. During your interactions, position yourself in front of your child and close to eye level – so it’s easier for your child to see and hear you. b) Imitate your child. Mimicking your child’s sounds and play behaviors will encourage more vocalizing and interaction. It also encourages your child to copy you and take turns. Make sure you imitate how your child is playing – so long as it’s a positive behavior. For example, when she does nod and clap, copy that with a happy expression and say "I'm happy". This will encourage your child to associate her actions with the emotion. c) Simplify your language. Doing so helps your child follow what you’re saying. It also makes it easier for her to imitate your speech. If your child is nonverbal, try speaking mostly in single words. (If she’s playing with a ball, you say “ball” or “roll.”) If your child is speaking single words, speak in short phrases, such as “roll ball” or “throw ball.” Keep following this “one-up” rule: Generally use phrases with one more word than your child is using. d) Follow your child’s interests. Rather than interrupting your child’s focus, follow along with words. Using the one-up rule, narrate what your child is doing. If she’s playing with a shape sorter, you might say the word “in” when she puts a shape in its slot. You might say “shape” when she holds up the shape and “dump shapes” when she dumps them out to start over. By talking about what engages your child, you’ll help her learn the associated vocabulary. I hope you're able to apply these strategies to help a smoother communication between you and your child! best wishes
@Dr. Meghna Singhal Dr.Meghna, thank you so much for your elaborate answer. This was exactly what I was also facing with my niece and this is very much helpful. Thank you. Please shed some light on how different will a special school's education for children with autism be from regular schools.
@Anonymous Dear Parent, Thank you for sharing your frustration. You are not alone in experiences such as this. Many parents are sailing the same boat such as you. In my experience, some of our children tend to extend their friendship to the world without discrimination. There are a few ways to address this. 1. One of the most effective ways to address this is to work with yourself so that you may eliminate your frustration about others reaction to your son. If you can disregard the stares, snide remarks and sympathetic gazes, then you will look be able to look past what bothers you. You may tell yourself that "They are reacting from their current place of understanding which is not your place of understanding. Educating others is not my task but to keep myself, my son and my family happy." If you do wish to educate others, then you may do so but from a place of powerful knowing about your son and his gesture of extending his friendliness to the world without discrimination. If you feel angry or sad then that is not the time to educate others. Best would be to remove yourself from the situation than react from a place of dis-empowerment. Prepare yourself to this approach even before you step out with your son. Prepare to lead your son for a walk in world where being friendly is the norm rather than an aberration. Remember you are the bridge between this loving son of yours and the world which has forgotten how to smile or to stop to smell the roses. 2. Educate and encourage your son to smile heartily rather than saying hi as smiling is less of an aberration than a loud hi in the views of the world. Do not stop him from this but whenever possible, when in such a situation, explain to him that he can send loving thoughts to the stranger if he does not gets a hi back. 3. You may request the stranger to wish your son back if situation permits. However do not go into detailed discussion about autism or his challenges or his condition. Just a brief explanation that he likes to make friends and you would very much appreciate a gentle hello back from them. Move on as quickly as you can because just the experience of smiling and saying hello to your son would have shifted something in the stranger. 4. The most important lesson for me in these situations is to totally disregard the others reaction to me, to stand in my own power and to be unapologetic about my presence in the world. I have noticed that our children too are like that - they are not apologetic about who they truly are, presenting themselves with all their rocking, sounds, odd movements and other socially unacceptable behaviours. Good luck with this! Love and light, Nandini
When children have learning difficulties or speech and language difficulties because of autism, assistive technology can help them overcome these barriers. R.../article/7-ways-assistive-technology-can-help-children-with-autism/