I was reading a post recently on Facebook about autistic children who talk for hours at a time and I thought I would bring together the threads from my experience and the parents that contributed to try and shine a little light on why a child does this and what might help them change their experience, when it is causing them or their families distress.
1. When non-autistic people feel stuck with a problem, just explaining it to someone else, helps them get more clarity. Autistic people have explained that talking aloud helps them sort out their thoughts, perhaps this is just a much more intense version, of the above.
2. When people are ungrounded, which many autistic people are, with high levels of stress, people often talk very fast, sometimes without drawing breath.
3. When an autistic person is talking about their “pet” subject, then they are totally engrossed in the content, that often has strong visual images attached.
4. Sometimes they are repeating phrases or expressions they have heard and don’t even understand; could this be a way of trying to improve their understanding?
5. Sometimes children will talk in different voices, maybe repeating a familiar expression from a favourite cartoon film.
6. They could be trying to blot out other noises, replacing them with topics they are very familiar with And thus reducing sensory overload.
7. They may ask the same question over and over again. Perhaps the answer did not make any sense to them or perhaps they have forgotten the answer. Is this because they are stressed and they just don’t have the bandwidth to process the information.
With all of these it would be very useful to get some feedback from parents as to what ideas have worked for them and whether they have had any further insights as to the reason why people do these behaviours.
Grounding will often help and for emergency grounding you can always try a weighted blanket, a grounded environment (for example grass of natural water) and notice what happens. Of course parents need to keep grounded too, as being ungrounded is catching, and in moments of frustration we can all realise how difficult this is.
For more information about grounding and the symptoms experienced by ungrounded people, take a look at Bridges to Success – How to transform earning Difficulties. Www.bridgestosuccess.co.uk