The Book: Autism Conversations

The Evaluation Conversation

In this book, I describe my method of connecting with children on the autism spectrum using sensory toys and topics of interest. I approach my evaluation time with children as an opportunity to understand the child’s unique world view. Children on the autism spectrum immediately understand when an adult is trying to get them to follow the agenda of the adult and tend to resist this process. I make a connection with the child by carefully watching how the child interacts with the world and begin my interactions with the child on the child’s terms instead requiring the child to follow my agenda.

What does an evaluation conversation with a child look and sound like?

  • The child works with me to explore sensory toys and topics of interest. I call this having a “neuro-atypical” conversation.
  • The sensory-based conversation unfolds in a natural but methodical way depending on the child’s abilities.
  • When a child is nonverbal or has limited language, the introduction of sensory toys provides the conversational bridge.
  • Verbal children enjoy it when I jump into talking about their areas of interest and we share facts and details about the topics that fascinate them.
  • A “neuro-atypical” conversation takes the social and social language pressure off of the child; something that is fundamentally stressful for all children on the autism spectrum.
  • Children on the autism spectrum relax and share their worldview more extensively when they are approached in this conversational way.

My experience has been that children on the autism spectrum truly enjoy the opportunity to share a sensory-based conversation with others. And of course, I enjoy having the opportunity to get to know each child and to be able to describe the child’s unique way of interacting with the world in my conversations with that child’s parents and teachers.