Rude Things Autistic People Do
There are many things which are unequivocally rude: Being let out on a busy road and not giving a nod of thanks: rude. Resting your sweaty feet over a theatre chair when someone is sitting in front of you: rude. Casually mentioning that someones newborn looks like a potato cross-bred with Gollum yeah, speaking from experience, its probably best to not go there.
However, while in some cases its easy to identify what is and isnt rude, autism can be a different kettle of fish. This is because, whilst autistic people are entirely capable of being purposefully impolite, there are also many aspects to our quirks which can be misconstrued in this way. As such, here are 10 examples where an autistic person might seem rude and how you can help.
Who Can Teach Social Skills
There are many social skills to learn, so many different people will teach them in different settings – at home, school, and in the community. A special education teacher, speech pathologist, or other clinician may lead a social skills group that combines direct, explicit instruction with opportunities to practice and generalize these skills in more natural environments. This means real life practice with peers! Other professionals that support social skills include:
- occupational therapists
- many other direct care staff
Best Communication Practices For Interacting With People With Autism
Everyone has different strengths, interests, needs and challenges. Just like with any other friend, colleague or acquaintance, learning these are the first step to positive relationships and communication.
People with autism bring new perspectives and ideas, enriching our communities and workplaces with their gifts inspired from seeing the world in different ways. We offer information about Autism Spectrum Disorder here. With 1 in 59 American children now diagnosed with some form of autism, if you think you dont know anyone with autism you might be wrong. Being part of the wider community and developing relationships benefits everyone.
We offer these tips and insights to achieve positive relationships and community, understanding more about what being on the autism spectrum means. Depending on the age and ability of the individual you may adapt different communication strategies and accommodations. These techniques are good to use with anyone, regardless of whether they are neurotypical or have ASD. Be respectful, ask what the person prefers, likes and needs.
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No I Dont Just Need To Discipline My Child More
Meltdowns are not tantrums. They are not the result of a lack of discipline on the part of the parent. Children on the Autism Spectrum have sensory issues. One child may be a sensory avoider, while another is a sensory seeker. And kids with sensory issues do not respond well to physical punishment. Spanking, time out, and yelling are not usually effective tools of discipline for a child with autism. Rather, parents of children on the Autism Spectrum rely on routine and repeated exposure to teach their autistic children rules and boundaries.
What Causes Autism Spectrum Disorder
No one knows exactly what causes ASD. It probably has something to do with DNA the genes passed down from your parents and other things, like infections or toxins that change the way the brain develops. Problems during pregnancy and around the time of birth raise the chance of getting autism.
Vaccines do not cause autism.
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What If The Person With Autism Is Nonverbal
These same things apply even if a child is nonverbal, though of course more help and input will be needed from you.
Too often people assume a child who is nonverbal isnt listening. People believe that a child who is not making eye contact is not paying attention.
As autism parents we know that this couldnt be further from the truth, but many times people fail to take it a step further and make sure that the child is directly included in conversations.
Questions are answered for them rather than prompting them to answer. We accept it when the questions about our autistic kids are directed to us rather than to our child.
Dont do it yourself and dont allow others to talk over or around your child. Make sure that they are treated like the individuals that they are.
School Friendships For Autistic Children And Teenagers: What To Expect
Healthy school friendships and relationships with peers are good for all children. They help children develop socially and emotionally, boost confidence and give children experience in negotiating, cooperating and problem-solving.
Autistic children and teenagers might find that friendships at school grow from in a particular subject, hobby or activity.
Autistic children and teenagers might also like spending time just watching others or doing things by themselves for example, throwing a ball against the wall or reading in the library or quiet room.
Doing things solo doesnt necessarily mean that your child is lonely. It might be your childs way of calming down or getting their energy back during the busy and stimulating school day.
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How Is Autism Spectrum Disorder Treated
There is no cure for autism, but treatment can make a big difference. The sooner treatment starts, the better. With therapy, people with autism learn language, improve in school, and build social skills. Many kids with ASD are in special education classes or get special education services.
A treatment program might include:
- speech therapy to help with talking and language skills
- occupational therapy to help with everyday tasks, like dressing and playing
- behavioral therapy to help improve behavior
- social skills training to help with relating to others
- special education to help learning
- medicine to help with things like sleep, paying attention, and hyperactivity
Helping Your Child With Autism Thrive Tip : Provide Structure And Safety
Learning all you can about autism and getting involved in treatment will go a long way toward helping your child. Additionally, the following tips will make daily home life easier for both you and your child with ASD:
Be consistent. Children with ASD have a hard time applying what theyve learned in one setting to others, including the home. For example, your child may use sign language at school to communicate, but never think to do so at home. Creating consistency in your childs environment is the best way to reinforce learning. Find out what your childs therapists are doing and continue their techniques at home. Explore the possibility of having therapy take place in more than one place in order to encourage your child to transfer what he or she has learned from one environment to another. Its also important to be consistent in the way you interact with your child and deal with challenging behaviors.
Stick to a schedule. Children with ASD tend to do best when they have a highly-structured schedule or routine. Again, this goes back to the consistency they both need and crave. Set up a schedule for your child, with regular times for meals, therapy, school, and bedtime. Try to keep disruptions to this routine to a minimum. If there is an unavoidable schedule change, prepare your child for it in advance.
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A Good Treatment Plan Will:
- Build on your childs interests.
- Offer a predictable schedule.
- Teach tasks as a series of simple steps.
- Actively engage your childs attention in highly structured activities.
- Provide regular reinforcement of behavior.
- Involve the parents.
Choosing autism treatments
There are many different options and approaches to ASD treatment, including behavior therapy, speech-language therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and nutritional therapy.
While you dont have to limit your child to just one treatment at a time, its unlikely youll be able to address everything at once. Instead, start by focusing on your childs most severe symptoms and pressing needs.
We Dont Need Autism Awareness We Need Autism Acceptance
Youve probably seen the bumper stickers, Facebook posts and the t-shirts calling for Autism Awareness. But as parents of children on the Autism Spectrum continually insist, our society is aware of autism. Its autism acceptance that we need. Though one in 68 American children are now diagnosed with autism, our society still treats autistic individuals and their families as social pariahs. To become a more inclusive society will take advancements in access to services, affordable health care, employment opportunities, Medicaid expansion, fair pay, and more opportunities for quality education.
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Facing The Demands Of High School
Meanwhile, the demands on teens increase dramatically. By high school, students are expected to change classes hourly, keep track of books and assignments for each class, follow complex directions, complete multi-phase projects, and turn in homework on time.
Amy Keefer, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, said schools and parents can help teens who struggle with planning, organization and other executive skills.
“Teens on the spectrum will require a greater level of external supports from family and the school,” Dr. Keefer said. Those supports may take the form of frequent parent-school communication, teachers checking assignment books to make sure they’re filled out correctly, and teachers helping students break down projects into smaller steps, with due dates for each step, she said.
Many elementary schools provide those types of organizational supports, plus help with social skills, she said. However, educators often reduce or eliminate such help in middle or high school, when students are expected to be more self-sufficient.
“In general, as you move up the grades, the amount of support and scaffolding you get from teachers drops off,” agreed Dr. Rosenthal.
That can cause problems. “For most kids on the spectrum, they need those supports throughout their school careers,” Dr. Keefer said.
You Cant Always See Autism
There is still a shocking amount of ignorance among the general population when it comes to the Autism Spectrum. Many people assume that children with autism have certain identifiable facial features or particular habits. But as it has already has been mentioned, every single person with autism is different and mild cases of autism are common. These stereotypes and lack of understanding often make things difficult for parents. Its especially hard in the case of schools, coaches, or other organizations who deny a diagnosis because it is not easily seen.
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Top Challenges Faced By Siblings
Whether the sibling of an autistic child rich or poor, mellow or anxious, there are certain shared challenges.
Explain How The Diagnosis Will Help Your Child
People often worry that having a diagnosis will negatively label a child, making people think shes weird and hurting her opportunities and her self-esteem. In fact the opposite is often true. It can be a relief to know that a childs struggles have a name and are actually pretty well understood and not that unusual.
Having a diagnosis also means that your family is eligible for therapies and services, which can be transformative.
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Use Your Doctor If Necessary
If family members reactions dont seem to be improving, Dr. Rosenthal recommends thinking about why they might be resistant. He says three common reasons are:
- They dont understand autism so they push it aside.
- They think they know what autism is and they dont agree its the right diagnosis.
- They dont know how to handle it and its overwhelming for them to consider.
Ive had situations where Ive encouraged parents to have their extended family come in if that person was having trouble coping or understanding what was happening, he says. Psychoeducation can be helpful for everyone no matter what, and if that person has really big misconceptions about the diagnosis or is feeling helpless, this is an opportunity to educate him.
Dr. Rosenthal also notes that if you are currently going through the evaluation process, it can be a good idea to have your relatives come in for the feedback.
Everyday And Social Skills For Unfamiliar And Difficult Situations
Sometimes autistic children and teenagers might seem like theyre behaving inappropriately. But actually they dont have the skills to handle unfamiliar or difficult situations.
For example, your child doesnt say hello to someone. Your child isnt being rude on purpose they might not know they should say hello. Your child might start hitting something because a particular noise is upsetting them. Or your child might smear poo on the wall because they like the warmth and texture of it, not because they want to upset you or do the wrong thing.
Breaking tasks into steps can help autistic children and teenagers learn everyday skills like how to get dressed or how to use deodorant.
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Make Directions Clear Short And Concrete
For example, if your child is throwing food at the table say, eat your food rather than Be good at the table, Dont throw your food or Would you stop with that! You are always throwing your food. For children with difficulty understanding language, showing them a picture or a visual demonstration of the behavior you want to see, can be helpful.
Help During A Meltdown
We tend to expect a lot from children with autism. They thrive in environments that are calm, familiar, and supportive. But we often ask them to succeed in grocery stores, airports, and classrooms.
When children with autism are overwhelmed, they can experience meltdowns. Meltdowns can involve:
- Withdrawal. The child retreats to an inner world and stops talking altogether. The child may perform repetitive actions like rocking or hand flapping to self-soothe.
- Tantrums. The child cries, screams, stomps their feet, or curls into a ball.
Parents become adept at dealing with these episodes, but always ask if you can help. You could ask a restaurant to turn down the music, for example, while a worried mother attempts to calm her child.
You can also intervene directly. Experts suggest using a gentle voice and simple commands. Tell the child, Get up, and stand next to me. If the child cant respond, stay nearby and let the meltdown blow through. When the child seems calmer, try the commands.
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Using Augmentative And Alternative Communication Supports
AAC is any form of language other than speech that can help a person in social-communicative interactions.
Autistic people who have no spoken languagecan become very distressed if their needs are not met and they are unable to express theirfeelings.Theuse of an AAC device can give them another way of communicating.
There is a large range of AAC devices. It is essential that a team of appropriate professionalsevaluatesdifferent AAC options with the person before making a decision about what to use. Things tobe consideredinclude cognitive and motor abilities, learning style, communication needs and literacy ability.
Examples of AAC devices:
Picture Exchange Communication System, where the person hands over a picture to request or express something.
Sign language,egBritish Sign Language , Makaton, Sign Supported English, or as part of a total communication approach .
Communication boards and communication books, where the person can point to words, photos and/or symbols.
Communication cue cards, used primarily with people who are verbal, can be a reminder of what to say and provide an alternative means to communication in stressful situations.
Conversation books, which can use text, pictures or photographs to support conversation.
Voice output communication aids,egBIGmack, generate digitised speech when the person presses a symbol or button. The person will need an understanding of cause and effect to use these devices.
Talking About Your Child With Autism
Just a kid.
Say hi. Dont just ignore a child with autism, even if they are nonverbal, or dont reciprocate. It may take many more times before they learn to reciprocate. Using social greetings appropriately and at the right time is a skill set, and it may take them longer to gain those skills. Try not to give up too soon.
Talk to them. It may be more difficult to process information, and short and simple phrasing may be better, but continue to make the effort to talk to a child with autism so that they hear and see language in action.
Talk with your hands. Some children who struggle with verbal communication use formal sign language to bridge the gap while they are learning to talk. But beyond that, and for all individuals with and without autism, visual supports and gestures can be used help to clarify verbal information. We all use our hands to gesture when we give directions or describe something, to support our words, and these additional visual cues can help.
Use correct grammar. A child with autism who struggles with language still benefits from hearing many models of correct grammar and language sequencing. In fact, some may demonstrate relative strengths in imitation of your phrases and sentences, and so it is best if they are simple but intact grammatical utterances.
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