Dear Dr. B,
I have a child on the autism spectrum. I have a hard time communicating with him – he just doesn’t seem to “get it.” It’s so frustrating. What do I do?
Trying but Tried
I’m sure it is difficult – one of the main issues with children (and adults) on the autism spectrum is difficulty communicating. They often tend to be more literal and have difficulty generalizing to other situations.
This can be a cause of frustration and misunderstanding with teachers, coaches, and peers as well. Frequently, however, the child on the autism spectrum has no idea that the communication is going array!
I’d recommend that you strive to be as clear, concise, and as black and white as possible with your child. Break things down into very small steps. It also may help to have your child explain back to you in his own words what he understood you to say.
Here’s a hint: if you and I could say the exact same words but mean something different, then your child will likely not understand.
For example, when you tell your child to clean up his room, you may mean for him to put all his toys in the respective bins and empty his trash. But when I tell my child to clean up his room, I may mean I want him to make his bed and put his clothes in the hamper, but not be concerned about the trash. This is a breeding ground for miscommunication and frustration.
So when miscommunication occurs, ask yourself, “If I had worded that differently, might he have understood it better?” Then do just that. Try rewording your message in very clear, concise, specific terms. Then check for understanding.
Often, working with a speech/language pathologist on communication and socialization skills can be extremely helpful – not just for your child but for you as well.
Communication is a process. So is parenting. Don’t give up. Just the fact that you’re asking the question suggests you will be one to persevere for the good of your relationship!
(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)
A short brief about Hope Prevails.
Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.
Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide
- An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
- As with the bestselling My Stroke of Insight, the author experienced the same condition she treats
- Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations
In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.
For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.
Hope Prevails is available now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see: http://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.