Section 3: Know strategies that are used to support communication and social
interaction for individuals with autism
Q8: Identify a range of methods that could be used when communicating with an individual with autism. (3.1)
When communicating with an individual with autism there is a range of methods that can be used to keep a person-centred approach. These methods will differ depending on the cognitive abilities of the individual as well as whether or not they are high functioning or have more severe traits. An example is body language which can help the individual to understand the emotion and tone of the individual such as appearing relaxed and smiling can help to put the individual at ease. Ensuring that tone of
voice is positive as well as body language can support a calm and productive atmosphere making the individual feel less worried. The care workers should engage with the individual depending on their age and cognitive development and look for common ground showing an interest in their individual interests and aspirations. Depending on the individual cognitive development they may use symbols which will be catered to the individual. Some individuals use PECs which indicates their needs and others can express more complex requests using a communication book or electronic communication device that has symbols in it. Makaton is a type of sign language which can help to break the ice when meeting a new client with autism. The care workers should identify the particular signs that the individual understands and responds to keep the atmosphere calm and predictable. Social stories which are simplified picture stories which give the likely outcomes of different social situations
which can help to prepare individuals with autism for unfamiliar activities and make something a little bit more comfortable and gives a way to explain social rules and expectations of different social settings and interaction
Q9: Outline a range of strategies that could be used to support communication and social interaction. (3.2)
It is important for the care workers to understand the individual strengths and weaknesses in terms of their communication and social interaction this can be done by the individual’s profiles observations and interactions over time. This can help the care worker to develop suitable strategies for supporting their clients. As those of autism are distinct individuals that have their own needs and aspirations they are likely to be many possible strategies as there are individuals with autism. It is impossible to
identify certain key themes that will form the basis of most successful improvement strategies these will include seeking to establish procedures and practices through which communication can take place that supports the individuals learning and development this can be done by ensuring that communication is planned for and encouraged as much as possible throughout the day the client can be engaged in the conversation prompted to express their needs during mealtimes and put into situations during social activities that encourage communication and independence. They can also take part in practical activities within the community that help them with communicating. Clients can be encouraged to enhance their skills by buying and paying for items in shops travelling on their own asking for directions from someone unfamiliar and taking part in activities that they haven’t
done before. They can also have symbols on Makaton incorporated into the regular activities which can be used to create and interact with the clients or to write notices on the board and individuals can also use communication book books or electronic devices which didn’t push the self-confidence of the individual through regular timetable practice sessions through the regular activities this can help the care worker to develop the skills and knowledge they need as a communicative partner.
Q10: Describe how communication can be adapted to meet the needs and preferences of each individual. (3.3)
As always a care worker should take a person-centred approach to the care and support of an individual with autism. To help with communication this means that the care worker needs to build up a knowledge base of the client’s individual communication style, which can be done in a number of ways. This can include reading appropriate documents such as a statement of Special Educational Needs, their Education health and care plans, their person-centred profiles and behaviour
support plans, and they can also consult with a qualified speech and language therapist about their client if one is available. They can learn about the theory and practice of alternative communication techniques to help them improve their knowledge and support their client. They can communicate and interact and observe their clients which can help them to learn about their personalities, their aspirations, their likes and dislikes and the communication techniques that work best for them and they should always act as an effective practitioner responding to the clients interests and needs and changing any practices that may be unsuccessful and reusing that those that work.
Q11: Explain how a constructive environment can be created to aid communication and social interaction. (3.4)
In order to educate and develop an individual with autism communication interaction skills, we need to make sure that we boost their confidence by putting them into a situation and Environment where they are more than likely to flourish and be able to develop their social skills. We can do this by ensuring that the environment ensures equality and person-centred values and support the client’s individual needs and aspirations. We also need to make sure it takes into consideration human rights and inclusivity and as communication and social interaction is recognised as a human right that those of autism should use and benefit from it on a regular basis. We also need to implement unconditional positive regard to show that it is a risk-free environment where they are developing and those around them will need to show the compassion understanding and give a non-judgemental approach when helping the individual to develop their social skills. They also needs to be inadequately trained
workforce so the care worker that is looking after the client and improving their social skills and boosting their confidence needs to be able to be confident in situations with behaviour that challenges or where the individual may feel uncomfortable and therefore be able to communicate in all the different forms of communication that is likely to be used by their clients. A person-centred culture should be implemented across the entire organisation and should be included in the mission statement. These are the fundamental values that should be implemented in an organisation to support those with autism but they should also be pushing communication and social interaction into the daily timetable of activities in place at the organisation which can be done using communication signs and displays which includes posters describing the benefits of Regular communication which can encourage both of the care workers on the clients to participate in communication activities which can help them boost their confidence. also using symbolic timetables and activity choice but to give a varied approach to the clients which the care workers should be confident in. This can just be to encourage clients to communicate during the day and communication books electronic devices should be available and well maintained for clients to use during the day. dose of autism may need a structured timetable to help them feel less stressed about the day so there should be a timetable of regular and varied social
activities which can be in the care setting and in the community which stresses the importance of both for the client’s development and social interaction
Q12: Describe the role of specialists in supporting communication and social interaction. (3.5)
Alongside the usual professional, a client will also likely to come into contact with professionals who are to facilitate the communication and social interaction boosting their self-confidence to enable them to achieve their full potential in both areas of communication and social interaction. Those of autism are likely to be supported by speech and language therapists from school and there are a number of processes which an SLT will come to work with a child or young person with autism this is usually done by a referral made by the teachers or parents once the concern has been identified and raised enough to show that the client needs support with attention, communication, intense understanding of language, play, expressive language and sound development. They will then carry out an initial assessment with the child to to understand their levels of need and the appropriate interventions. They use a range of activities to engage the children and young people with autism which can range from intensive interaction to more complicated variations, including building sentences. Most activities will take place on a one-to-one basis outside of the Classroom although some may take place within the classroom as group work to boost social interaction. A professional body may be employed directly by the family through the use of direct payments, or in care organisations a teaching assistant on mentor may be allocated to an individual. Some voluntary organisations set up social activities for those with autism to take part in.