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Communicating Better with People on the Autism Spectrum

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Table of Contents

Introduction. 1. Person first language - to use it or not? 2. Use non-patronising language. 3. Use age-appropriate language. 4. Use neutral language. 5. Let yourself be guided on preferred terminology. 6. Don't use the word normal. 7. There is nothing `mild` about Asperger syndrome. 8. Say `on the spectrum`. 9. Address the person directly. 10. Refer to parents by name. 11. Adapting your language and the way you speak. 12. You will be taken literally. 13. Sarcasm. 14. The use of functioning labels. 15. Non-verbal vs pre-verbal. 16. Pre-conceived ideas. 17. Appearances can be deceptive. 18. Triad of Impairments. 19. Giftedness is not a given. 20. Autism is a neurological condition. 21. Autistic person, not patient. 22. No need to grieve. 23. Puzzling. 24. Facial expressions. 25. Body language. 26. Environment. 27. Physical contact. 28. Have a time limit on the session. 29. Offer breaks during sessions. 30. Explain what will be happening, and when. 31. Stick to the plan. 32. Ask specific rather than open-ended questions. 33. Pace your speech. 34. Alternatives to non-verbal communication. 35. Things to consider when offering food. Conclusion.

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35 tips and strategies for effective and sensitive communication with people on the autism spectrum

About the Author

Paddy-Joe Moran was diagnosed with autism when he was eight. He is a writer and blogger and runs the online advice service Ask-Pergers?. Paddy-Joe co-authored Helping Children with Autism Spectrum Conditions through Everyday Transitions and Create a Reward Plan for your Child with Asperger Syndrome, both published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. He is based in Manchester, UK.


Many of the strategies describe good practise for working with any individual, regardless of specific or additional needs... The main thrust of the book is that, as practitioner, we should remember that we are not treating a diagnosis but working with a child or young person, and the overall theme is of responding to the individuals we work with in a more compassionate and dignified manner. -- Martin Edmonds * Special Children Magazine * Non-autistic professionals have strange ways of communicating. Sometimes they use inappropriate terminology, figures of speech, or rely excessively on gestures. It's not their fault. They just need guidance. They will benefit a great deal from reading this well-organised book and its bite-sized and easy-to-follow tips. -- Janine Booth, author of 'Autism Equality in the Workplace: Removing barriers and challenging discrimination' This helpful and accessible book challenges the assumption that only people with autism have problems with communication. Paddy-Joe Moran points out the numerous mistakes professionals can make in their interactions with autistic people, and offers helpful advice on how to make a positive difference with a small amount of effort and no extra cost. Tackling subjects from the use of labelling language to how to structure a conversation, and the importance of positivity and respect in all our interactions, this is a must read for all professionals. -- Jane Forrest, Autism Support Coordinator, Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Communicating Better with People on the Autism Spectrum is an excellent resource. Written from the perspective of autistic experience, Paddy-Joe Moran provides professionals working with those on the autism spectrum with a wealth of useful information on how to communicate in a respectful and inclusive manner. Information in the book will be invaluable in making working relationships between autistic people and professionals more productive and supportive. -- Jeanette Purkis, autistic advocate and author of 'The Guide to Good Mental Health on the Autism Spectrum' and 'Finding a Different Kind of Normal'

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