Monday, June 8, 2015

A new take on Autism

I came across an interesting video on YouTube called “In My Language”, written by an Autistic adult. It depicts a very interesting angle on Autism and may answer some questions to those of us who have looked at autistic individuals and wondered what must be going through their heads. It also paints a picture of this father’s perseverance and determination while her daughter struggles with the isolating challenges of autism.

Overall it is an inspiring story that is dramatic but at the same time encouraging and offers a good glimpse into the mind of someone with autism. It shows how communication is paramount in the relationship with your children, and especially at this level of autism. For most behavior difficulties, communication emerges as part of the problem and is an essential part of the solution. If the behavior problem is related to the child’s communication needs, then teaching more effective communication skills needs to be a major part of the solution.

For this reason teaching and encouraging functional communication should be a key component of any intervention program. As teachers and parents we should take every possible steps to build healthy communication repertoires. And as the video shows, communication is not limited to talking. There is plenty of technology to compensate the lack of verbal communication. Pictures, signing, visual clues are some other ways you can help your child to communicate.

The first part of the video is in her "native language," and depicts a typical perspective of someone disabled, unable to communicate, weird hand flailing and repetitive movements. But then the second part provides a translation, or at least an explanation of how the autistic individual’s mind works. It is a wonderful statement about what gets considered intelligence, personhood, language, and communication, and what does not.

I think the point she very effectively communicates is that the fact that we don’t understand them, in their language, does not mean that they are the disabled ones. 

Let’s understand them. We should not give up. They are there, we just need to find them.

This is the link to the video.

Daniel Adatto, BCBA

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