Individuals on the autism spectrum may have many functional communication skills, yet lack the ability to understand and use words that describe internal states. These words describe the important aspects of ourselves and others that may not be readily discernable (Bang, Burns, & Nadig, 2012).
The foundation for the ability to cope with frustration, resist the urge to react explosively, and use words as part of progressively more mature behavior schemes is self-awareness. How is my body feeling? What am I thinking? What emotions am I experiencing? And how do these internal states promote or interfere with what I am trying to accomplish?
Knowledge and use of words that convey the internal state of ourselves as well as others can be taught and can be learned by individuals with autism. They can be a bridge to connection with others and awareness of self. In my work consulting with organizations and providing workshops, I show parents and teachers how to help establish these important aspects of communication.