Uniquely Human

Ideas from “Uniquely Human” by Dr. Barry Prizant

Children with autism struggle with communication, but they tend to have a very strong memory.

People communicating with an autistic person can help by simplifying their language.

It is good to figure out ways to help children get regulated when they are in a class or social setting.

Consider the perspective of the child, who is desperately trying to communicate, despite the neurological challenges that come with autism: social anxiety, sensory overload, often language-processing challenges.

Many children find the predictability and consistency of animated characters (as well as the music) comforting, a welcome contrast to the unpredictable nature of real people in everyday situations.

Wow! What Insights!

Memory: A year ago, we were with Grayson and his family at a resort. We had visited the resort six months previously and Grayson had gone swimming. He and I were playing at a resort playground when he began to run. I followed after him, letting him lead the way. His little three year-old legs took him about a half mile to the swimming pool. He stood in front of the gate, pulling on it, saying “Go! Go!.” He also knows directions, shapes, letters, numbers, songs on the piano. Memory is certainly a strong suit for him.

Simplified language: Most of us can understand 135 words per minute. The autistic person can process five or a few more words. I have learned by watching Grayson’s therapists at his school to look him in the eye and say, “Pick up,” or “Take off,” or “See ya.” We don’t use long sentences, because his brain can’t process that many words.

Animated characters: Grayson loves videos with numbers and letters. He also enjoys Sesame Street videos with songs. He repeats them over-and-over. I have learned from the “Uniquely Human” book that he does this to learn and comprehend what is going on. When I ask the “why” question, I realize that this is the way he understands what is being communicated. As he listens to the same thing over-and-over, he is learning what is being said.

Prayers for Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Dear God, please grant teachers and parents the ability to understand the nature of uniquely human persons on the autism spectrum.

Bob Spradling

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