Last updateMon, 28 Jan 2013 9pm

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TIPS aka Talking in Pictures


Jelibean has discovered that many on the autism spectrum understand better if we use ANALOGY to communicate. Dr Temple Grandin herself a high functioning autistic wrote:


The more I learn, the more I realize more and more that how I think and feel is different. My thinking is different from a normal person, but it is also very different from the verbal logic nonvisual person with Asperger's. They create word categories instead of picture categories. The one common denominator of all autistic and Asperger thinking is that details are associated into categories to form a concept. Details are assembled into concepts like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. The picture on the puzzle can be seen when only 20 percent of the puzzle is put together, forming a big picture.


Pictures for many on the autism spectrum are key in understanding the ‘meaning’ of our lives. So if a lot of us ‘think’ in pictures it would make sense that we can talk in pictures too. We call it TIPS short for Talking in Pictures.


Using analogy we can describe what we feel to others in a way that we can BOTH understand. Indeed many of the articles on this website are written with TIPS in mind.  Check out Meltdowns, School is a swimming pool and many others. We now understand that many autistics ‘think’, ‘talk’ and ‘write’ in pictures. For some literal thinkers though TIPS may not be so easy to understand.


Jelibeans are not good at describing or expressing how they feel. When asking questions such as

“How do you feel about your sister?”

Most jelibeans will simply look at you, shrug their shoulders and answer with a ‘dunno’.


HOWEVER – rephrase the question as…….


“If your sister were an animal what would they be”?

You may get a very surprising answer!  One child answered “a spider”. Their mother only half an hour previously had explained their child’s phobia of ….spiders!



So it’s not hard to get information out of a jelibean providing you know HOW! Try it for yourself, you may just find life changes – for the better.

Shortcuts to communicating with your child

As a nurse, I was always taught to watch the body carefully. The body is a SYSTEM, so when my Ward Sister told me to observe it, although she hadn't got a clue that she was talking to a jelibean who was only too willing to watch and learn a SYSTEM, I sure as hell watched it. And I worked it out, with her help.


Butt out of Butting in

Why do I always get this burning urge to interrupt? It’s a real problem for again the tons of us who have ADHD, we race and our tongues just go into freefall and land plop right in the middle of someone else’s conversations. Was it a really important issue? Nah, don’t be ridicularse as my kids say! Was it earth shatteringly so petty that it need have been said at all? How about the conversation about your Dad’s hospital appointment, you know the one your mum is worrying herself to pieces about, she is pouring it all out and you interrupt with, Oh mum, before I forget, could you pick up the kids today, Billie's coming to do my hair!

That was a bit below the belt, eh? And you didn’t even notice. Do you hear the deathly silence on the other end of the phone or do you sense the worry? No, of course not, your brain’s too busy on permanent spin mode.


Black and White Thinking

Jelibeans love colour we already know that, so why do we assume situations and feelings have to be only black and white?

Compromise is not a word that many of you may wish to explore, if that is the case then you had better skip this bit even though it may help you. It’s a long word for these things really, here goes:

1. Agreeing to something even if it isn’t quite what you wanted but its pretty close.
2. Reaching an agreement with both parties giving in on some points