People with autism may communicate differently than others, but many understand words and can convey their thoughts through writing.
In childhood, some individuals with autism may start to speak earlier than their peers and may have a strong penchant for topics or use formal speech. Others may be non-verbal or experience delayed speech, leading them to communicate their thoughts and needs in other ways.
No matter how someone communicates, each person is unique and should be treated as an individual.
A Closer Look at Autism
Though autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can co-occur with cognitive disorders, speech disorders, or intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD), not all individuals have the same experience. Many people with autism have an IQ level that is considered normal or higher than average, excelling at math, visual arts, music, and more.
For individuals who are verbally challenged, there may be various factors that contribute including:
- Delayed development of communication skills
- Apraxia of speech – a neurological speech-sound disorder that affects an individual’s speech patterns and the ability to communicate their thoughts in a consistent manner
- Echolalia – repeating the words or phrases of others, usually spoken by a parent or teacher or echoed from a television show or video.
Individuals who are non-verbal may choose to use gestures, sign language, or augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). In addition to facilitating communication, these approaches help to enhance socialization and the ability to form meaningful connections with others.
Medical Consensus Has Changed
Before 1980, almost seven out of every ten individuals diagnosed with autism also had a secondary diagnosis of intellectual disability. As research evolved, that metric decreased to 30% as of 2014. There is still much to be learned about ASD, but as research and technology advance, it is becoming easier to provide supports and resources that will help individuals succeed.
Non-Verbal Communication Supports
Today, there are various assistive technologies to support individuals who are non-verbal, enabling them to become more independent while increasing their communication and socialization skills.
Most tools are app-based, making them affordable and easy to access on a mobile device. By using pictures, sign language, visual aids, or speech-output software, individuals with ASD can connect with others and live happy, fulfilling lives.
To learn more about the high-quality services that we provide at Independent Living Association, visit our website today.