I never heard about Autism until my friends had a son who had it. I thought Autism was a disability that was new. The CDC says that one in 68 children has Autism. If you think of it, it is a lot of kids who have Autism.
As a society, how do we support these children with this disability? I found a list of ten ways of supporting them. This list was on Pinterest so I didn’t come up with this list.
- Explain at every stage what you are about to do, what will happen next and why. If a child does not know what will happen next, they could get scared and might throw a fit.
- Give the person enough time to understand the information you are sharing and wait a few seconds for a response if it is not given immediately. What I think this means is that the person does not process the question quickly. It is like when you are being woken up by someone who is asking you a question. You shake your head and ask them to repeat the question again.
- Questions should be clear and direct using language that is easy to understand. Use pictures when it is necessary. Do not rely on the person to pick up on the meaning of your question or your body language. When I am with my friends, I notice they have to repeat things before their son fully understands what they are saying.
- People with Autism might take what you say literally so avoid words with double meaning and humor that could be misunderstood. I think something like I hate you. The person who says this might be clowning around.
- They say that familiarity is often important to some people with Autism. I know my friends try to get their son to bed around 8:00 at night. He is around 18 years old.
- A person may not look at the person who they are talking to. They may say something that is inappropriate or says something at the wrong time. I notice this with my friends’ son. I know my friends can’t do much about it. He won’t remember what he said later on if they want to do something about it. When he says something, I can see the embarrassment on their faces.
- Repetitive behaviors might be a coping mechanism that the person has. For example, the person may bite their hand or hit another person when they are frustrated.
- Some people with Autism are particularly sensitive to light, sounds, smells, or touch. My friends’ son is sensitive to sounds, but he loves music. When we go out to free concerts, he usually wears a headset that people wear when working on planes so to cut down the noise. The amazing thing about him is that he loves playing drums.
- People should be always considered the person’s behavior in terms of their autism, even though it becomes challenging. In other words, what they do isn’t their fault because they don’t know better like you and me.
- It is a good idea to ask the person and or parent, what support they might need. Like Cerebral Palsy, each person has unique needs. So autism isn’t different. The parents know their child the best so they can tell you what they need.
I hope that you learned something about Autism. It is a really difficult disability to live with. I am not saying that Cerebral Palsy or Muscular Dystrophy is easy to handle. With Autism, there is a lot of stress that the parents have to deal with.