Children and young adults will likely have difficulty articulately expressing how they feel about the many unexpected changes. Fear, frustration, and worry may be expressed through challenging behavior like tantrums, refusing to participate in family activities, or withdrawal. For individuals with autism, these communication difficulties may be coupled with expressive communication delays, limited verbal or nonverbal skills, difficulty perspective taking, and/or social communication deficits.
- Consider providing multiple opportunities for family members to express their feelings as they are able—through family and individual discussions, writing activities, movie making, or play. Feelings and needs may be communicated through alternate forms of expression such as the use of augmentative and alternative communication (e.g. iPad, pictures), listening or playing music, dance, yoga, and various visual art forms. In addition, recognize that an increase in challenging behaviors may be an expression of anxiety or fear, and consider if support strategies in place are adequate (see strategy 3 for further discussion of coping and calming strategies). Several examples are provided that can support expressive communication.