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It is not always easy to communicate with an Asperger child. We must bear in mind that children with this diagnosis make use of verbal and non-verbal communication differently. But, there is no need to worry, being informed and knowing what are the particularities that they present when communicating, we will be able to interact with them successfully.
Often, the Asperger child is defined as a "know-it-all" or a "pedant" because they use a vocabulary that resembles that of an adult, this is what is known as a "wordy" vocabulary.
What's more, their speech is often monotonous and they have a tendency to verbiage, to the point of turning conversations with them into a real monologue.
They fail to give up the turn to speak by not taking into account that the conversation must be two-way and, above all, they also show great difficulty in understanding the gestures and expressions of non-verbal communication.
Some of them are detailed below. But, we must bear in mind that each child is different and it is possible that not all children with an Asperger diagnosis will observe these particularities.
- They need to be spoken to literally. They don't pick up on double meanings, subtleties, irony, sarcasm, innuendo, or jokes. In addition, they have difficulty understanding abstract concepts. Therefore, it is necessary to convey clear and direct messages.
- Any time is not a good time to talk. Children can feel overwhelmed, uncomfortable and overwhelmed if they are pressured to communicate when they are not receptive to do so. It is important to choose a good time to talk where you are calm, in a safe place, and are comfortable. And, on the other hand, avoid places that are noisy, very bright or where there are many people around.
- Promote conversation topics that are of interest to you. Knowing what the child's interests are and asking about them can be of great help if we want them to feel motivated to speak and express themselves. For example, if your child likes dinosaurs, it is a good idea to ask about this topic. If they are interested in a topic, they will actively participate in the conversation as they will feel confident and motivated to do so.
- Do not start conversations with questions but by making a comment. They may feel intimidated if we suddenly ask them a question they don't expect. The best thing is to start the conversation with a comment so that they feel encouraged to interact.
- Use short sentences, do not speak too fast. It is important that we use sentences that are too long but rather short sentences that contain clear and concise ideas.
- Do not pressure the child, respect his silences. We must allow enough time for the children to be able to process the information that we are exchanging, avoiding rushing or oversaturating them. If we observe that you do not want to talk about a topic, it is not recommended that we continue to urge you to talk about it if you are not receptive to do so. If we do not pressure them and accept their silences as an answer, we will make them feel comfortable and confident. And, this will help them to feel motivated later to return to the conversation.
Children with Asperger's have language difficulties that can sometimes go unnoticed or even be understood as "oddities." But, it is a fact that children with Asperger's have difficulties when it comes to communicating and knowing what they are allows us to be informed and increasingly closer to being an inclusive society by having the tools to deal with individual differences.
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