Uniquely Human: Chapter 2

Chapter 2: Listen

“In their attempts to make children appear more “normal,” these “experts” were plainly ignoring what were clearly legitimate attempts at communication, and–worse–they were disrupting the child’s process of learning to communicate and connect with the world” (40).

Their and experts refer to individuals that have studied ASD and/or have worked with individuals with ASD. However, sometimes experts take an approach that they think is appropriate and will work when in actuality it doesn’t.

“In other words, they were using language for the same purposes we all do. We just had to listen, observe, and pay attention” (43).

They refers to a group of boys with ASD that the author worked with. We all use language to convey our wants and needs; to let the speaker know that we understood what was said. We all have different ways to conveying these messages; individuals with ASD do so in a way that typically developing and developed people don’t. However, if we take the time to do so, we can understand the intent behind the language used by an individual with ASD.

“Over time I have come to realize that the best approaches to autism are those centered on the family” (45).


“Echolalia also serves a developmental purpose. A child cannot become a creative and fully functional user of language merely by repeating memorized words or phrases, but echolalia is a start. For many of these children, it’s the first step in understanding the basic concept that they can use their body as an instrument to produce speech that expresses wants, needs, observations, and feelings. An din that way they can connect with other human beings” (49).

Echolalia is repeating speech multiple times that comes from another source, such as another person or a movie. The word, phrase, or sentence can be repeated in any context, and can appear multiple times in one conversation, in a week, through the course of a year, etc.

“My simple advice: Listen, observe, and ask “Why?” (50).

Thanks for reading my review of this chapter! There’s more coming, so keep coming onto the blog daily! I hope you enjoyed it and can take some of this knowledge into the world with you while on your own happy and healthy adventure. 🙂 ❤



Prizant, B. (2015). Uniquely human: A different way of seeing autism. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster

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