In the book, How To Talk To An Autistic Kid, 14-year-old Daniel Stefanski says,
Autism is a disorder that affects how my brain works. (Yes, it does work!) My dad, who is an electrical engineer and knows a lot about wires and circuits, told me having autism means that my brain is wired differently from most kids’ brains.
This is a great way to put it. Many children with autism have trouble communicating. That means as friends, parents, and educators, we need to learn to speak a little bit differently.
We often start conversations with questions like, “How are you doing?”. Instead, Kevin MD suggest starting with a statement. Make it a compliment to connect and it’s even better. You are more likely to grab a connection and even get a response if you use a statement like- “That’s a cool shirt you have on!”
Draw pictures. You can still talk and make statements while drawing pictures, but visual clues can help children with autism understand better and feel less stressed when communicating.
If you are not good at drawing, it’s ok. Stick figures work.
If you’re a mom who wears glasses, draw one figure with glasses for you and maybe another with a baseball hat or a ponytail — something your child associates with himself or herself — to designate the child.
If you cannot draw, then use descriptive words so children can form pictures in their minds. Use creative, representative keywords and encourage children to speak to you by controlling their favorite items.
Also, be sure to give the child the time to respond. Taking a pause opens up space for an autistic child to speak.