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“Do not make assumptions about a person's cognitive skills.”
Scott Chausse and Teka J. Harris of the May Institute outline five strategies
for interacting with adults on the autism spectrum. The tips highlight the importance of recognizing that even if a person with autism has difficulty communicating with you verbally, that doesn’t mean they don’t understand what you’re saying.
Another important factor to keep in mind is that people with autism who speak little or not at all still communicate. Just like “neurotypical” people, people on the spectrum use gestures, movements, facial expressions, vocalizations, behavior, and other communication methods to express what they need and how they feel. When communicating with someone with autism, pay attention to her nonverbal communication. She may tell you something with a look or a gesture that words couldn’t express.
Treating a person with autism as a whole being with needs, feelings, and hopes will help you communicate effectively and build a positive relationship that rewards you both.