Considerations for psychologists and counsellors who are seeing people with ASD, language challenges, or use AAC

Gabrielle Hogg is an autistic advocate and AAC user based in New Zealand. She blogs and writes on her blog Autismo Girl, Facebook Page, and on Twitter.

A few years ago we developed a one page handout to help psychologists, counsellors, and other clinicians support autistic people and those who use AAC part or full time.


There are many standard practices that work well for neurotypical people that can be challenging for autistic people, people with language disorders, or those with other communication impairments. For example, many people I support find open ended questions incredibly stressful because they don't know what is expected of them, how much or little detail is being asked for, or where/how to start. 

Wisdom of students

Today I was invited to speak with a group of 80 high school students.

School hasn't even started, and yet there they all were.  They had volunteered to come in to school and learn about how to be a peer support. As part of their training, I was invited to speak for an hour about how to support fellow students with autism. I so remember being that age and signing up to be a peer tutor (as we called it in the USA) myself.  I remember wishing someone could have give us some practical advice and guidance.

At the end of the hour, I gave each table group a piece of paper and challenged them to list 5 things they could do to be supportive of a fellow student with autism. Wow!  They really synthesised the information.
5 ideas from high schoolers for supporting peers with ASD
Here is what they wrote:

Write things down / Live subtitles / Write down what you are saying /Write down instructions for  clarity