The longer I work with people with communication disorders of all sorts, including autism, the more I realize that there is no single skill more important than narrative or story-telling. Communication is all about narratives. Think about today - how many stories have you listened to and how many have you told? ... how was your weekend? what did you do at school? did you see what was on the news? let me tell you about what happened this morning ....
We taught Adam to tell stories in a comic-strip format. When Adam was 7, I started drawing out simple interactions and conversations for him using sequences of comic "cells". When he was 10 (and able to draw), I set up open-ended "What next?" drawings where I drew the first action, and he drew the reaction or next action. The first time we tried this, he simply copied my drawing. So I modelled the reaction in a silly dramatic Saturday morning cartoon way, falling off my chair over and over until he said "Cut that out!" - but he got it, and he drew a sequential picture.
This story was only the first of many, all demonstrating humour, imagination, understanding of cause and effect, and human emotional reactions - things that many people have assumed are not intellectually possible for individuals severely affected by autism. Drawing opens up a channel that allows a person with low verbal skills to communicate more complex thoughts and concepts - to share their true wit and intellect, their opinions, their hopes and their dreams.
I recommend that you take my grandfather's advice and listen to the story to learn the thing you did not know before ... then let that information change the way you see and interact with people with autism.