Autism – how do we communicate?

Posted by: alisrowe, June 20, 2016

Communication is a daily need in our lives. We communicate to let people know how we feel, what we want, to share thoughts, feelings and experiences, to warn others… etc. Communication is both verbal and non verbal, meaning we communicate in spoken language as well as our body language and expressions on our face.

What is communication?

In order to communicate you have to have a sender and a receiver. When Ella tells her daughter Chloë (14, ASD) to clean up her room, Ella is the sender (she is sending the message) and Chloë is the receiver (she is receiving the message).

In a dialogue, people constantly switch between being a sender and a receiver, depending on whether they are talking or listening.  At some point, you can be both receiver and sender at the same time.

After Ella told Chloë to clean up her room, Ella continues with a list of things she would like to see clean.

‘Don’t forget your dirty laundry. Also PLEASE get rid of those candy wrappers and empty your dustbin. And I’ve put clean laundry on your bed so make sure to……’

Chloë sighs and rolls her eyes at Mum which infuriates Mum.

In this example we can clearly see Ella is the sender, and Chloë is the receiver BUT she also becomes a sender when she indicates with her non verbal communication (sighing and eye rolling) that the situation displeases her.

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