Silent interaction

I believe it is important that non autistic people and parents meet people on the autism spectrum half way at times. That may include balancing teaching and the encouragement of verbal communication with allowing for silence creating experiences non verbal interaction and shared activity. 

Some of my most vivid childhood memories are of being around adults while they silently continued with what they were doing whether it was cooking, gardening or carpentry. It was a lovely form of company. Animals also just about their usual business with young in tow.  

With clients with autism in art therapy I sometimes work alongside the client in silence and forms of non verbal interaction often develop. The client may watch what I am doing or begin to tap brush marks creating a rhythm with my mark making. On occasions clients have made marks on my work beginning a visual dialogue within a collaborative art process. At other times there is an exchange of materials or the client tries out a colour I have just mixed.

In silence the autistic client is often more receptive to allowing me to work hand over hand which I do to vary their response and teach new skills. Talking while working hand over hand by comparison is often too overwhelming. I have also found that people with autism respond more comfortably and immediately to instructions when they are given silently through gesture or the use of sign language.