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People on the autism spectrum may have difficulties understanding communication and language. Moreover, they may have difficulties in understanding, developing and using effective skills including speech, gesture, facial expressions and intonations.

Examples of these difficulties may include:

  • Difficulty using non-verbal communication effectively – may look odd or come across as inappropriate.
  • Talk may appear one sided.
  • May not monitor the listener for interest or may appear insensitive.
  • May not understand the emotions, ideas and beliefs of other people.
  • Echolalia – may repeat words or phrases spoken by others but not use these in the correct context.
  • Children can have difficulties approaching others, initiating conversations, and developing friendships with their peers – they tend to find it easier to communicate with an adult.
  • They may find lengthy and complex language difficult to process and understand – so they may only focus on one thing that was said.
  • May fail to respond or may not seem interested when spoken to.
  • Difficulties using words to communicate – may name or label objects.
  • Information tends to be processed slowly.
  • Can often be over-literal and concrete.
  • Difficulty understanding the intent of words with multiple meanings.
  • Difficulties interpreting the body language (non-verbal communication) of others and using appropriate body language.

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