At a holiday gathering, your 8-year-old son is telling his aunt exactly how he went about constructing a complicated Lego spaceship. He spares no detail as Aunt Ann smiles and nods, eyes glazing over. You walk over to join them and try to help him become aware of her nonverbal clues and wrap up his one-sided conversation. With no success,…
There are many treatment options and teaching strategies in the field of autism spectrum disorders which assume that something must be changed about the person with ASD: their behavior, their responses, their thoughts, or their communication skills. The intent of this article is to introduce a broader, more inclusive, and possibly courageous, approach. We begin by first acknowledging that with the autism spectrum comes a different style of communication – different from the widespread style of communication that most (non-autistic) people are familiar with and unconsciously expect. Then consider the idea that miscommunication and misunderstanding often result from a mismatched style of communicating – and finally, that all of us are responsible when desiring improved communication.
Speaking in sounds, movements, through the feel and theme of songs, jingles and advertisments was my first language. Affirmation was a structure that made sense, to use a jingle to affirm a feeling. So someone says, ‘we’re going’ out and I say ‘Gilligan’s Island’ to me this is an affirmation, just they are speaking interpretively and I’m speaking in theme and feel. Statements made sense because I was all self/no other, and all other/no self.
As part of a qualitative methodology course at the University of Ottawa in the Faculty of Education, graduate students were invited to conduct a “pilot research study” employing one of the five traditions of inquiry identified by Creswell (1998). Struck by the phenomenological approach, I chose an “incident” of interest to me – the case of a boy with Asperger’s syndrome who had used a ventriloquist’s puppet to communicate in an unusual way with his family, friends and ultimately – himself.