Communicating With Seniors Who Have Autism

Communicating With Seniors Who Have Autism

 December 29, 2022

Two men sitting on a couch talking to each other.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental impairment resulting from brain abnormalities. People with ASD may behave, speak, engage, and learn differently than adults or seniors. Often, nothing in their appearance distinguishes them from other people, and it can sometimes be hard to diagnose. If your senior is on the spectrum, it can be hard communicating with them. 

ASD can cause trouble forming and keeping friendships, interacting with others, and comprehending what behaviors are required in social situations for children as they mature into teens, adults, and seniors. Sometimes, as someone ages, the disorder can become more severe as they age. Here are some tips for talking to your senior mom or dad on the spectrum.

Address Them as an Adult, Not a Child

Just because your senior mom or dad has autism doesn’t mean you treat them without respect. Often they are capable of understanding, learning, and listening to you. There is no need to treat them like a child. They may understand every word you say but not respond as you’d expect. Keep talking to them with respect and love.

Say What You Mean

Do not skate around a sensitive subject because your parent may not understand your meaning. If you are struggling or having a problem, you must be honest and blunt about the situation. Being honest and saying what you mean will help them understand what is going on and what they need to do.

Listen to What Your Senior Needs

Active listening is crucial when communicating with individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). By taking the time to listen, you demonstrate concern and support. If you need help comprehending what the speaker is saying, ask more inquiries to explain what they need.

Always Wait for a Response

If you or a companion care at home ask a senior a question, always wait for their response. Do not start speaking for them, because you don’t know how they feel. You should also not assume they didn’t hear you; they may take the time to form thoughts and try to read the room to respond appropriately to something.

Always Provide Them Meaningful Feedback

Give some constructive criticism. Adults on the spectrum may use incorrect language without realizing it. Get ready to provide exact comments on what went wrong with the dialogue. Someone with ASD may learn to safely negotiate complex social interactions with the support of honest, non-judgmental, and explicit feedback.

Don’t Speak Like They’re Not There

When you work with companion care at home and have a meeting, it’s easy to talk about your seniors like they aren’t there. Even with good intent, doing so can be disrespectful. You want to take care of your senior mom or dad, but they deserve to be respected and treated well. Let them have a voice, ask them questions, and devise solutions to problems together.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring Companion Care at Home in Fox Chapel, PA, please contact the caring staff at In-Home Quality Care today. Serving the Greater Pittsburgh Area since 1990! Call 412-421-5202