Autistic Communication and Infodumping
Autistic Communication and Infodumping
Autistic communication is unique. If you are a teacher, parent, or friend of an autistic person, understanding their communication style is critical. Hence, today we are talking about autistic communication and infodumping. There are many ways a person can communicate. In other words, people using speech, signs, AAC, gestures, eye gaze, picture exchange, facial expressions, pointing, echolalia or stimming are all ways to communicate. Most autistic people can be speaking or non-speaking.
Neurotypicals are verbal when they communicate. Whereas autistics may be non-speaking or use a combination in order to communicate. We should accept any form of communication.
First, let’s understand some autistic terms. Many autistic and autism advocates prefer speaking versus non-speaking as opposed to verbal versus non-verbal.
Speaking means an autistic individual uses speech/words to communicate. Non-speaking means the person prefers not to use words/ speech to communicate. In other words, a non-speaking person understands language but prefers to use gestures, signs, or AAC to communicate.
Verbal versus non-verbal:
These two terms were used in the past. Nowadays people are moving away from these terms because they stigmatize an autistic person. Verbal means the person uses speech/ oral movements to say words. Whereas, non-verbal means the person does not understand language and does not speak using words aloud. Hence, autistics feel calling them verbal and non-verbal depicts they have a linguistic comprehension deficit. But, that’s not the case at all.
In short, linguistic comprehension ability is superior or on par with peers in non-speaking autistic people. They prefer not to use words. They prefer using signs and gestures to communicate.
Overall, we will be using the terms speaking versus non-speaking in our blog today.
As mentioned before, autistics are speaking or non-speaking when they communicate. Moreover, even speaking autistic people have unique ways of communicating. They rely on body language, tone of voice, gestures, and eye gaze. So, let’s look at some ways autistics communicate.
Some Autistics prefer speaking/ using words to communicate. Additionally, they use echolalia or repeating phrases, focusing on the literal meaning of words, moving from topics, information dumping, and speaking without eye contact. Although they speak, they sometimes have the above manner while speaking.
Many autistics prefer the non-speaking way to communicate. In other words, they use gestures, signs, pointing, AAC, or eye gaze to communicate.
Most autistics have sensory execution and processing difficulties in addition to anxiety. So, they prefer the non-speaking mode.
Infodumping is a unique autistic way of communication. Further, it refers to an autistic person communicating excessively about a topic they love. For instance, an autistic person talks for hours about “sea animals” enthusiastically because it is their specific interest. Furthermore, it is called the autistic “love language”. If they love a topic or an idea, they continue to communicate about it.
In other words, infodumping is an autistic tendency to share detailed information at one time on a specific topic.
Autistic infodumping style of communication:
- Speaking at great lengths irrespective of the listener’s interests
- Long monolog-type communication or monologuing
- Use a loud voice while infodumping
- Speaking fast with great interest
- Missing body language cues from a listener
- Autistic kids and adults engage in infodumping
- Communicate until the information is exhausted
Many autistic infodumps due to some of the reasons below:
- They want to share their joy and passion
- To express themselves and their interests
- Sharing information
- Building bonds and making friends
- To release built-up thoughts
- They want to create a sense of pride
If you know an autistic person who infodumps, support and acknowledge them. Further, listening to them infodumping makes them feel loved. It encourages their attempts to communicate and build bonds.
Research Evidence and Use Links
The autistic love language of infodumping
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