Children's Advocacy Centers of North Dakota
200 E. Main Street #301 * Bismarck, ND 58501
701-323-5626 *
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Autism Spectrum Disorder


What is Autism?


Autism spectrum disorders  are a neurological disorders that affects a child’s ability to communicate, understand language, play, and relate to others. They share some or all of the following characteristics, which can vary from mild to severe:

  • Communication problems (for example, with the use or comprehension of language);
  • Difficulty relating to people, things, and events;
  • Playing with toys and objects in unusual ways;
  • Difficulty adjusting to changes in routine or to familiar surroundings; and
  • Repetititive body movements or behaviors.


This definition was obtained from the National Dissemnation Center for Children with disabilities, additional information can be found at

Considerations for Communication -Autism Spectrum


  • Intellectual impairment varies greatly along the spectrum 
  • Interactions are objectified and often do not follow typical communication flow
  • Be concrete and specific
  • Rapport may be difficult to establish depending on child 
  • Be aware that “autism is a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain.” Although the effects vary greatly, autism may impact communication, social skills and processing information.
  • Know that the person may be socially awkward and have difficulty making eye contact and interpreting nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions, gestures and tone of voice.
  • If the person has difficulty in interpreting nonverbal cues, be clear, direct and specific in your communications.
  • Keep in mind that the person may be sensitive to touch, sound, light or color.
  • Be patient, since the person may tend to focus on particular objects.
  • Be aware the person may quietly talk to herself frequently.

Resources for Professionals