This saying employs one to be polite and respectful with behaviour when embracing a different culture or society. When interacting with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), we often face a variety of barriers. The big question here is whether we (both parent/carers and child), are speaking the same language. Learning an alternative way of communicating could be daunting for some, but if you are willing to try, a whole world of opportunities will unfold before you and your child.
Do you wonder how much your child is listening when you speak? Is it a case of them turning a deaf ear on you? Or maybe, do they even understand what you are saying?
If you were visiting Rome, knowing that you were a foreigner, the locals would rely on gestures, pointing, pictures, or even lead you to the right area to ensure that got to where you were headed. In the same manner, consider how you are guiding your child to make sense the world.
When communicating with children with ASD, here is somethings to consider:
1) Are you gaining their attention before communication?
2) Are you communicating at their eye level?
3) Are you communicating to them at their level of understand? Chronological age vs Developmental age.
4) Is your speech clear and succinct?
5) Do you vary your tone and emphasis on key words?
6) Do you follow through with your instructions and comments?
7) What’s in it for them if they listen to you?
8) Do you help them to understand through visuals, gestures, hand leading etc.
So when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Speak the language of your child and listen with your eyes. Communicate through different modalities and have fun making memories with your child.
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