5 Tips to Communicate Better with Autistic Adults

Some of the most common difficulties experienced by service users with autism are in communication and social interaction. This can become even more of an issue in adulthood, where there is more of an expectation that they will have learnt accepted social norms. If you want to provide the most effective support to autistic adults through care work in Basingstoke, you have to be able to communicate with them regardless of these difficulties.

Support for autistic adults can take a range of forms, but it is impossible to tailor that support to an individual’s specific needs if you do not fully understand the challenges they face. This means you need to be able to communicate with the service user, allowing them to express their needs and you to respond appropriately.

Communication techniques to apply in care work in Basingstoke

Remember they are an adult

Just because an adult has autism does not mean you can treat them like a child. They may have trouble with language and communication but this doesn’t mean their cognitive function is impaired. Avoid being patronising or assuming they do not understand. If they are in the room, involve them in the conversation, never simply direct discussion towards family members or support workers.

Get their attention

It can be hard to tell if an autistic adult is paying attention to you, or to maintain their attention through a conversation. Start by addressing them by name, then watch for signs that they are engaged and focused. These signs may vary between autistic adults. One way to encourage attention is to be willing to discuss their hobbies and special interests, and to listen to them talking about their preferred topics.

Avoid overfamiliarity

Phrases like “honey” or “sweetie” may be perceived as condescending or demeaning, especially in a professional setting. Terms of endearment should be saved for family or close friends and you should stick to more formal modes of address unless they request otherwise.

Clarity

Autistic adults may struggle to follow a conversation and can easily “overload” if they have to process large volumes of information. This difficulty can be reduced by making your sentences as specific, clear and concise as possible. Avoid metaphor or slang and be as literal as you can. Try to minimise outside factors, such as background noise, that may contribute to sensory overload.

Take your time

It may take a little longer for an autistic adult to process what you say and respond, but that does not mean they are not listening or do not understand. Be patient, pause between phrases to allow them time to absorb your comments and then give them time to formulate their own response.

If you bear these few tips in mind, the experience of care work in Basingstoke will be far more rewarding because you and the service user will better understand each other. This advice allows you to treat the service user as an individual and anticipate and adjust to their needs. Better communication is an important first step towards an autistic adult being able to access appropriate support, which in turn leads to them having an improved quality of life.