Have you encountered this situation? You ask someone a question, it feels like an eternity is passing as you wait for the answer, so you rephrase your question. More time passes you repeat your question again. And eventually, you give up and walk away.
In an age where we can have our questions answered instantaneously by devices, it can be difficult to wait for a response. However, patience is precisely what is needed when communicating with someone that has ASD. Visual information is more easily processed than auditory and may require more time in responding. As you repeat/ restate your question, the individual with autism will have to start the process of interpreting the question and formulating their answer all over again. This reboot starts every time you restate.
If you are truly looking for a response you will need to wait a minimum of 10 seconds, up to a minute, for a response. Watch a clock to see just how long 10 seconds is. A hint: if a computer takes 10 seconds to load a site, we usually complain about the internet speed and seek a way to improve the situation. However, the wait is worth it. Whatever you are asking, the price of a little bit of time to gain a new perspective or information is absolutely worth its cost.
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Rebecca J. Weaver is a Certified Autism Specialist at Independent with Autism, working to empower individuals with ASD. Want to improve your communication skills? Check out IndependentwithAutism.com for more information.