Communication in Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Guide For Pediatric Nurses
Amanda B. Brown and Jennifer H. Elder
In the United States, one in every 68 children has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). ASD is a developmental disorder of the brain that is characterized by impairments in social interaction, communication, and repetitive patterns of behavior (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2013). Nurses have a duty to provide high quality care to children with ASD. Effective communication is essential to providing quality care. Three main theories attempt to explain how the ASD brain functions and the implications on communication: lack of theory of mind, weak central coherence, and lack of executive function. Children with ASD have difficulties in vocalic, kinesthetic, and proxemic aspects of communication (Notbhom, 2006). Simple adaptations to environment and style can make the communication between nurses and children with ASD easier and more effective (Aylott, 2000; Green et al., 2010).