Empowering People, Launching lives

Find a resource

Clear filters

Resources like these take time to put together

If you can, please consider making a small donation to help us continue to offer these and other resources for free Donate

Autism and communication

Communication is far more than words. Research suggests that only 7% of communication is spoken words. The rest is a mixture of our tone of voice, accounting for 38%, and our non-verbal communication, such as body language and expression which makes up the remaining 55%. 


Many autistic people have difficulties associated with social communication and social interaction. Such difficulties often stem from others not having the understanding, experience or patience when it comes to communicating with autistic people.  

If an autistic person has difficulties expressing themselves, such as putting their thoughts into sentences, or finding the right words, it can often be perceived as that person has nothing to say – this is very often not the case. 

Autistic people can also find difficulties with receptive language, where their ability to understand others may take longer or the style of communication doesn’t meet their needs. This can result in the autistic person’s understanding being over or underestimated. 

For autistic people, it can be hugely frustrating not having the right opportunity, means and often a reason to communicate. Such frustrations can have a negative impact on the autistic person’s well-being and mental health.  

Communication challenges can also result in the autistic person being overlooked for opportunities or not being heard. 

There are lots of different forms of communication. The most well-known alternative form of communication is sign language. This is where a person communicates through hand gestures. Other forms of communication, or as speech therapists call it, augmentative and alternative communication, AAC for short, include communication apps or devices, such as an iPad or voice output device. Others include Picture Exchange Communication Systems known as PECS – where the speaker uses pictures to communicate their needs and feelings. 

When considering communication and autism, it is vital to be patient and consider how you can make it easier for the other person to be heard. 

Visual tools, such as choice boards, now and next boards, symbols and communication books are also helpful for communication.

Registered Charity No. 1082599. Registered in England and Wales Ltd by guarantee No. 4041459 Registered Office: Ashurst LLP, London Fruit & Wool Exchange, 1 Duval Square, London, E1 6PW