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The five basic strategies to
communicate with a child who has
Sight – Most children with autism are
hypersensitive to lights. Certain lights
and patterns can induce a seizure very
Hearing – A simple noise can cause a
child with autism to have a meltdown
easily. Watch their body languages
Touch - Touching for children with
autism can feel very painful and they
may experience this feeling most of the
Smell – Autistic children have an
intense sense of smell. If you can smell
it, most likely they can smell it 10
Taste- Whether the food is good or
bad, autistic children may amplify their
These are the five basic senses that
everyone uses, a child with autism just
uses and reacts to them differently.
Parents may not understand what
autism is and what causes it.
Autism is one of the most common
developmental disabilities. The
characteristics of Autism Spectrum
disorder (ASD) refers to a wide
range of symptoms.
Symptoms can be mild or severe
and interfere with everyday tasks.
It affects how a person behaves,
interacts with others,
communicates, and learns. People
with autism have differences in the
way their brains develop and
Autistic children with autism may
have difficulty understanding
verbal and non-verbal
communication, have difficulties
with social interaction, show
repetitive behaviors, or have
obsessive interests. These
behaviors can range from mild to
As a parent you do not want to
believe your child may have a
mental disorder, but catching this
disorder early can make a huge
difference to reduce the effects and
help your child to grow, learn, and
An Outreach Education Program,
Serving Limited Resource Individuals,
Families and Communities
Undergraduate at Tennessee
Child Development Fact Sheet 4HY-1
Understanding autism and how to
communicate and interact is an
important factor. Many children
with autism (ASD) are delayed in
language development and shy
away from using speech.
Therefore, other methods of
communication can be used to
establish speech and language will
Signs ofautism may include:
Trouble interacting, playing
with, or relating to others.
Little or brief eye contact with
Unusual or repetitive
movements, such as hand
flapping, rocking, or tapping.
Delays in developmental
milestones or loss of already-
Difficulties learning in school.
Playing with toys in ways that
seem odd or repetitive.
Low muscle tone, clumsiness,
and poor spatial awareness.
Dealing with a child who has this disorder can
be devastating, stressful, and overwhelming to
a family. The responsibility and commitment of
a parent with an autistic child requires an
immense amount of dedication, energy, and
time. However, a family with an autistic child
can cope and adjust to meet the needs of the
family and the child.
For information on autism, please
visit these helpful resources and
Autism Society of America
Information in English and Spanish.
National Autism Center
OAR | Organization for Autism
Here are six ideas to help families
adjust living with an autistic child.
1. Accept help from family and
friends. It is difficult to ask for help
sometimes. Allowing people to help
you may relieve stress or the feeling
of being overwhelmed to help you be
a better parent, partner, and person.
2. Be honest about what you need.
Being honest allows people to
understand your situation and gives
the people who care about you the
opportunity to help you.
3. Create a list of needs. Creating a
list of needs can help others to help
you and sign up for duties that best fit
their skills and schedules.
4. Enlist other caregivers. Giving
others the responsibility to care for
your child with special needs can help
your child develop the resilience and
adaptability that every child deserves
to learn, regardless of overall health.
5. Consider home health care. Some
insurance companies will cover the
cost of in-home health aid or care to
assist your child. These services may
be available to you and your child if
you are eligible.
6. Seek Companionship. Seeking
help does not mean you want someone
to do everything for you. It can be
hard to manage life and the
responsibilities of having a child with
autism. Taking time to connect and
laugh with others can help free you
from your common worries.
1. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth
Edition – Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR). Washington, DC: American PsychiatricPublishing, Inc.,
2. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Instituteof Child Health and Human Development, NIH, DHHS.
Rett Syndrome. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, NIH-06-5590, 2006.
3. Melinda Smith, M.A., Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., and Ted Hutman, Ph.D (UCLA Center for Autism
Research & Treatment). September 2015.
Autism varies in its severity and
symptoms. Sometimes these
symptoms may go unrecognized.
Most children can be diagnosed
with autism by the age of three.