Back to tips

Communicating with an autistic person

Drawing of a man brooming inside an head

Concerned about communicating with the person you are caring for?

Here are 10 tips for communicating with your child.

default image

Communication, a two-way process

The communication difficulties that people with autism experience affect their ability to receive adequate medical and psychiatric care throughout their lives, as do their behavioural manifestations.

Communicating with your child, whether through verbal, non-verbal or minimally verbal means, is a two-way process: you gradually develop strategies to improve your communication and interactions.

Communication is a key issue: in order to help the person receiving care to communicate and to be able to communicate with him or her, you yourself must learn to connect with available resources for help, support, accompaniment and mutual aid.

An interactive game to develop social skills

L’Appui pour les proches aidants was impressed by the interactive game and guide (in French only) A pour un Autre. This interactive tool offers young people between the ages of 6 and 17 an educational and fun experience to make them aware of how the other person really feels.

First, discover the tool and guide yourself, including the contextual setting, the seven scenarios drawn from daily life events. Next:

  • Allow your child the opportunity to explore the tool in their own way and at their own pace: they may view the interactive film Inviter un ami or Souper de famille (in French only). Micro-skills are presented in a series of text bubbles and the child must make choices about social behaviours when the movie stops;
  • Emphasize, motivate, encourage and promote your child’s self-esteem with these tips;
  • Work on the scenarios: for example, organize a friends’ party or meet for a multidisciplinary intervention plan; Organize a party for friends or Meet for a multidisciplinary intervention plan (in French only);
  • Identify the components to work on together: self-regulation, empathy, friendship management, conflict management, conversational skills;
  • Create new scenarios together with a blank scenario sheet.

We suggest that you create a logbook to record the child’s difficulties and ways of communicating, as well as their progress with this tool.

ic_play Play Video

Ten tips to communicate with your child

These tips are inspired by the winning attitudes and components proposed by the CHU Sainte-Justine:

  1. Encourage games that are related to the child’s interests;
  2. Sit at the same height as the child, to encourage face-to-face communication and facilitate the exchange;
  3. Emphasize important words;
  4. Use visual aids (gestures, photos, pictures);
  5. Adjust your language level to that of the child, using statements that are just a little longer than the child produces;
  6. Repeat the same words often, in different contexts, to promote vocabulary learning;
  7. Talk a lot about what is being done, or what the child is doing, to mimic appropriate simple statements;
  8. Exaggerate expressions and exclamations to elicit a reaction from the child;
  9. Stimulate communication in natural everyday contexts (e.g., during meals, bathing, playtime);
  10. Keep in mind that communication is stimulated through pleasure.

Take stock of the needs of the person you are caring for and of your own

Communication is also important between you and the assistance and support resources. The Office des personnes handicapées du Québec offers personalized assistance to people living with a disability, their families and those they care for in their efforts to access services:

  • The service plan is established in collaboration with you, your family, the person you are caring for and the stakeholders from the various sectors involved. It specifies your expectations and needs, the list of required services and the organizations or individuals responsible for providing the services;
  • The needs of the person you are caring for and your own needs in terms of counselling, psychosocial support, supervision, respite care, and support with daily tasks are assessed and identified.
format_list_bulleted See all tips

Need to talk?

Contact our Caregiver Support Helpline for counselling, information and referrals.

Every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Free of charge.

call  Caregiver info :  1 855 852-7784