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The second book in the ‘Autism: Becoming a Professional Parent’ series has been released

After examining sensory perception in autism in the first book, the newly released second instalment focuses on communication and language in autism.

Communication is a two-way process, and it takes two people to mess up a conversation. Not all the problems are caused by autistic children. Non-autistic people have a lot to learn about the ways autistic individuals use verbal and non-verbal language to communicate.

Autistic children do not lack the desire to talk to others but rather use unconventional means of both non-verbal and verbal communication. Non-autistic people are often puzzled by the ’odd’ communication expressed by autistic individuals. However, autistic children may be equally puzzled by their non-autistic communicative partners.

Some autistic children might use a different (non-verbal) language(s) to communicate and are likely to have difficulty in using any conventional system for communication in all but the most basic ways. They do possess their own language system, external and internal speech. Before we can teach them a ’foreign language: we have to learn theirs first in order to develop the ability to ’interpret’ their messages at the initial stages of our communication with them.

In order to facilitate effective communication between children with diverse communication systems, it is important for parents (and professionals) to develop translation skills, including the ability to understand and accurately share information between very different languages, thought processes and modes of communication. Parents and professionals can teach translation skills to both the child and the people they interact with. This could involve educating family members, teachers, or peers about the child’s unique communication system and providing them with tools or strategies to understand and respond appropriately.


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Frank Sterle
Frank Sterle
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At age 56 I'm still ‘undiagnosed’, though that means little to me. An official diagnosis would cost a lot of money due to our [Canada’s] "universal” healthcare system not really meaning universally accessible regardless of one’s financial status.


It’s an obvious condition with which I greatly struggle(d) while unaware until I was a half-century old that its component dysfunctions had formal names. 


Then, again, had I been aware back in the 1970s and ’80s I likely would’ve kept it a secret nevertheless, especially at school, lest the A-word [autism] gets immediately followed by the F-word [freak].


While low-functioning ASD seems to be more recognized and treated, higher (as opposed to high) functioning ASD students are more likely to…

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