Communicating with Autistic Kiddos

My wife and I had a conversation the other night about how ‘literal’ our boys see things and view the world.  We have fabulous friends up the street who have an older boy (11 yrs old) who is autistic and they have him mainstreamed.  She has shared some of the growths . . . struggles . . .triumphs . . . and challenges they’ve had along the way.  Sidenote – this is a really amazing family and I’ve noticed how thoughtful and considerate they are of others . . . great examples for me!  🙂



Anyway, our daughters are on the same soccer team and they’ve started the spring schedule with two tough games and really got smashed both games . . . . . though they did win today 5-0 so it’s either hit or miss with our team.  Our friends mom, A mentioned that her daughter (let’s call her “C” for this post) felt ‘deflated’ after the past game.

On hearing that, the autistic 11 yr old mentioned that, “yeah when ‘C’ (sister) was a baby, she was pretty chubby but she isn’t chubby anymore, huh?”  Interesting how he understood ‘deflated’ and thought of it that since his sister is running around and exercising, she is losing weight  versus how the moms were talking about it in terms of spirit and morale.

Found this on google - had to chuckle at it

Found this on google – had to chuckle at it

Got me thinking a lot about communication nuances and  what it’ll be like when the boys get older  and we have those types of nuances come up in their social conversations.  There are simple ones now that come up that we explain and I’m not sure how much of it really comes across to the boys but I’m sure we’ll have some fun ones along the way.  I was extremely impressed that our 11-yr old friend had, on his own, thought through what “deflated” meant and how it could possibly relate to this situation and had made a very good inference to it’s meaning.  That was fantastic to see!

Have any you’d care to share?

  1. We have had a hard time convincing Jess that you can’t call all your “guy friends” your “boy friends”… In her mind it means the same thing, and she prefers boy friends because girlfriends is the appropriate term for her friends that are girls…. It” matches” better! There are going to be a lot of entertaining moments over the next couple decades (or longer….. Even though I got married and moved away I still talk to my parents daily… They have been surprised at how much effort their aspire daughter still requires in the form of talking through situations….. It’s a special relationship!)

    • Thanks for the comment! I can imagine that for anyone, it’s tough and there will always be new things coming around. I lived in Japan for four years and there were some situations where they would say things and it didn’t make sense until someone explained them to me so I get it! GOOD LUCK! 🙂

  2. Neil N said:

    My son reminds me of this a couple of times a week. He’ll ask us to explain a bit of slang or a common saying, because he interprets it literally and when done so, it makes no sense.

    • I bet it is .. . . . . my 9yr old still asks me what certain things mean. Thx for the comment!

  3. Lisa said:

    My biggest issue has been sarcasm. My oldest is just starting to understand some of it, but he still struggles with it (he has speech/language issues). My autistic son does not get all.

    As for idioms, both my husband and I use them quite a bit, so we have a lot of explaining to do. For instance, I got the flu last week and said I had a tummy bug. Tate wanted to know where the bug was…he wanted to see it. I had to explain that I meant a virus, which made me sick.

    • Thanks for the comment! Communication is tough enough w/out all the idioms ~ I can imagine that sarcasm is tough. I went to a Carol Gray Seminar a few months ago and she said that to help kids get sarcasm, she would create a simple picture with cartoon bubbles for the conversation and would write the words in different colors so her students could understand and be able to learn the emotion behind words.

  4. Cyn said:

    OMG it IS so funny at times re: the literal thinking and I catch myself all the time. My little 2-1/2 year old girl has had the stomach flu and said “it felt like frogs were jumping in her tummy.” She then asked my son Johnny whether he had frogs jumping in his tummy. Well you can guess his reaction. He lifts his shirt and gets really upset saying “I don’t frogs in my tummy. Get out get out!!!!”

    I will also point to my post called ELBOW JUICE about how literal my guy can get 😉

  5. My 8 year old who I lovingly refer to as Aspie Monkey Boy was walking to the front door of his school with his mother when he stopped in front of the SLOW CHILDREN road sign, stamped his little foot and said I HATE that sign! His mother (an Aspergirl) said Why? What’s wrong with it? To which he immediately replied It’s calling me SLOW!!! I’m not slow WATCH! And proceeded to do his best Sonic the Hedgehog imitation and ran to the door of the school and back. When he was back, he kicked the sign and said SEE?! Picked up his book bag and went inside the school, Enjoy.

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