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Treating Patients with Autism in a Dental Setting

Course Number: 402

Communication Strategies Used by Individuals with ASD

How would you communicate if you could not speak? It is a difficult task, but can be done. Individuals with autism are highly visual. It is much easier for the majority of this population to understand pictures than spoken language. This makes communicating with pictures ideal in many situations. Here is a closer look at some of the ways these patients may communicate with you, and you with them.

Pictorial or Iconic Images as Language

Many individuals use pictures or images as a form of communication. These patients will carry with them a binder full of small images or will use apps on a tablet. The patient will pull out or point to several different images that will compile a thought, a request, or a sentence. Parents and caregivers will assist and bridge the gap between clinician and patient; it is important just to be aware of alternative modes of communication.

Video of a child communicating with pictures:

Video of a child with autism using a communication app:

There are an increasing number of apps and alternative forms of communication used by those who are not vocal. These are just two examples.