“so the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.” – dr. seuss

in the world of charlie brown, when the adults talk the children only hear noise. unfortunately, adults often fail to heed the advise of dr. seuss & the example of charlie brown with a great cost – too much “teaching” amounts to too little learning. this is especially true when working with children on the autism spectrum. after all, qualitative impairments in communication are a hallmark of autism.

common pitfalls (they happen to everyone!) include:

1. speaking for a child perhaps as a means to fill the void (think: awkward pause on a first date!)

2. honoring non-vocal communication rather than requiring a vocal communication attempt (think: loud tantrum in grocery store when mom withholds cookie until child approximates cookie)

3. repeatedly giving instructions without allowing adequate response time (think: “please give me the cup.” “johnny, give me the cup.” “(pointing) that cup. bring it to mommy please…”)

so what to do? practice the art of brevity! it can be helpful to think of words as currency – the more words issued, the less each individual word is worth. and pause …count to five before jumping in.

less is more.


2 thoughts on “brevity

  1. I think this is a great call- I’m not on the autism spectrum, nor am I a child, but I can attest to having ‘adults’ sound like the Charlie Brown adults. I even make that noise in my head when I feel like someone is talking at me after a while…the talk becomes meaningless when padded with too much verbiage. Thanks for the reminder as a functioning adult in the world, as well as a preschool teacher!

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