People on the autism spectrum vary enormously from each other but they all have impaired communication skills of one kind or another.
Those communication skills include verbal skills (such as speaking and listening) and non-verbal skills (such as making eye contact).
For example, some people on the autism spectrum
- Cannot speak, can only use a few words or learn to speak very late
- Speak using unusual volume, pitch, intonation, rate, or rhythm
- Use odd language or repeat the same things over and over again
- Find it difficult to hold a two-way conversation i.e. where each person speaks and then listens to the other person
- Find it difficult to explain how they feel using words, expressions, tone of voice, and gestures
However some people on the autism spectrum claim that, rather than having poor communication skills, they have different communication skills and that people without autism need to learn how to communicate using those skills.
Please see our detailed entry on Social Communication and Autism