Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Individuals who are on the autism spectrum require more processing time, or thinking time, to understand what you are asking them to do and to formulate their response. So you may think that your child is not listening or that he is choosing to ignore you. Give him a little more time to respond. If you keep repeating yourself you are just giving the child more information to process, which will take longer, and may overwhelm him. Wait longer than what feels natural for you. If after a minute or so there is still no response, ask him if he understands what you want him to do. If he doesn't understand then tell him again in a different way. This way he can hear your instructions again if he needs to, but it won't feel like you are badgering him.

Think of your child's brain as a computer. We have all experienced a slow computer or program. This can be very frustrating. What happens if you keep clicking the program you are trying to use? It takes longer because your computer has to process each and every click. Your computer can't filter out the unnecessary clicks. Your child's brain is doing the same thing. He can't filter out the extra words, so ignoring some of the requests isn't an option for him. And he can't process the language quickly enough to say, "Stop. I heard you the first time."

So give your child more thinking time and you may find that he is listening. He just needs more time to respond.

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