Connecting with a child who has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) could be quite challenging. But you don’t need to talk, or even touch an ASD child to bond and communicate. You can communicate by the way of your looks, voice tone, body language, and how you touch the child. He/she would communicate with you, regardless of whether they speak. But you have to pick up the language of this nonverbal communication.
Here’s what you can do.
Identify nonverbal cues: Pick up some nonverbal cues from your autistic child. This you can do by observing and being aware. These are the cues that an ASD child uses to communicate. Pay careful attention to their facial expression and the sounds they make. Gestures they use to mean hunger, happiness or tiredness are particularly important indicators.
Identify the motivation: It’s nothing unnatural to feel dejected when someone ignores or misunderstands you. An ASD child is no different. When autistic children throw tantrums, it’s usually because you are not responding to the nonverbal cues. Throwing tantrums is how autistic children vent their frustration and attract your attention.
Pay attention to the sensory sensitivities: Majority of the children with autism are hypersensitive to sound, touch, light, smell, and taste. An ASD child could be under-sensitive to sensory stimulus. Observe your child carefully. Identify the sounds, movements, smells, sight, and tactile sensations that trigger a disruptive or “bad” behavior and what evokes a positive response. What stresses out your child? What are the factors that make him/her uncomfortable, or happy, or stressed out? Once you understand the things that affect the behavior of your child, you will be able to troubleshoot the problems better, prevent a situation that causes difficulties and forges a stressful experience.
Connecting with a child having autism is often a tall order for most parents. But once you understand the nonverbal cues, it becomes easier.