What Does Autism In The Workplace Look Like
If youve met one person with autism, youve met one person with autism. This statement, attributed to Dr. Stephen Shore, is commonly repeated in the autism community.
Because autism is a spectrum disorder, people with autism range from being slightly different than a neurotypical person, one who does not display autistic or other neurologically atypical patterns of thought or behavior, to someone who will never be able to live an independent life.
However, there are characteristics that are quite common in individuals with autism. WebMD compiled a list of symptoms related to autism. Here are four that may impact your workplace. They are examples of what managers need to think about when managing employees and candidates with autism in the workplace.
Remember They Are Just Kids
Autistic kids may not act a lot like neurotypical children, but remember youre still talking to someone whose thoughts and attitudes are being formed in an immature brain.
With a little practice, you may find that you can talk to autistic kids just as easily as any kid. The results, for both you and the child, can be both positive in terms of their development of communication skills and enjoyable as you make an interpersonal connection.
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.
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Tips For Interacting Positively With Children On The Autism Spectrum
As a parent you hope not only that your child will do well in class, but also that they’ll get along well with others and fit in. But imagine if you were the parent of a child with a disability that may not be immediately recognizable. You’d want people to understand and be kind.
Children with autism often attend mainstream schools, but it might be difficult to identify them by sight. You might notice they communicate differently or act differently and wonder how to interact with them and include them.
“Just because children with autism communicate differently doesn’t mean they should be ignored,” says speech-language pathologist Erin McQuivey, MS, CCC-SLP, who works with children with autism as a manager at Primary Children’s Outpatient Rehabilitation at Intermountain Riverton Hospital in Riverton, Utah.
“Children with autism can communicate in a lot of different ways. They may use words, facial expressions, gestures, emotions, and even assistive technology,” she adds. “We should honor all these methods as meaningful communication. It’s their way to build relationships, ake requests, and comment. We should recognize the communication methods they’re comfortable with.”
Have Someone Who Knows The Child Present
Any time an adult meets a child for the first time, it’s better if the child is with a trusted adult. Most kids have been taught not to talk to strangers, so don’t approach the kid without making sure Mom, Dad, an aide or teacher, or another grown up is around for safety and reassurance. These adults can also help the child through the social interaction with prompts and reminders, and in many cases, they will. Every interaction is a learning experience, and you and the other adult are helping the child learn the rules of this social interaction. Interact mainly with the child, but take your ques from the adult.
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Helping Your Child With Autism Thrive Tip 1: 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.
Ways To Support A Person With Autism
Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disorder, and according to the latest Center for Disease Control research, 1 in 59 children in the United States are diagnosed with autism. Autism is also four times more common in boys than girls. It’s challenging to acquire exact statistics about autism in children because many adults not diagnosed with autism in early childhood go undiagnosed into adulthood. It’s estimated that there are about 3.5 million Americans living with a type of autism, but all ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic groups worldwide are impacted.
Given these statistics, there’s a high likelihood that you know someone that has autism or a family that is caring for someone with autism. Autism is a complex condition with a variety of signs, symptoms, and severity levels. Currently, there is no blood test or cure for autism, so early detection and intervention with treatment and services are key to improve a persons development and functionality for a lifetime. Given the prevalence and complexity of autism, it’s important to be aware of ways you can support people that dealing with the condition.
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How To Talk To An Autistic Person
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Autistic people may appear strange or intimidating to others, but they can be quite fun and charming once you get to know them. This guide will help explain how to talk to them.
Meet Autistic People Where They Are
One of the best ways to conceptualize the communication differences between people on the spectrum and neurotypical people is that autistic people communicate differently. For this reason, just like in any other setting, its important to meet people where they are and get educated on how to be more accommodating to people with neurodiverse communication styles.
Join the conversation here:
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Talking Can Be Hard Work
Communicating in a neurotypical world can be exhausting for autistic people, so respect if your conversation partner is overwhelmed or just flooded and cant speak for a bit. You can honor this by being patient, using direct language with details, leaving process time in the conversation and understanding that breaks and silence have a place at the table too.
Please understand that sometimes I shut down just draw a blank. If I dont answer a question or continue to contribute to the conversation its because I, temporarily, cannot. Phyllis P.
Speaking is hard work. Hyperverbal autistic persons might mask that, but it is still hard work. Delphine D.
How To Approach Autistic Childrens
When we come to this part of the study, what we can cum up from the above definition, its terms and characteristics attached to autism also provided an avenue to understand the meaning of autism. In that regard, it is crucial to understand autism in a sense that it can further enable us to derive the salient aspects as and when it matter to dealing with autistic people. The question that arises also is how to approach children with autism?
To begin with in this regard, we feel that a thorough understanding of the behavioral aspects and in particular the characteristic associated with autism is important as a measure to approach with them in day to day life and interaction process.
Hence, experts feel that as far as approaching an autistic child goes it is to be sensible and vitreous enough to understand who they are, because autism is just one part of their characteristics. Yet a child with autism is also a unique creation of God and with unique character and gifts. Thus, the best way to approach a child with autism is to give them enough space to be what they want and to express their humanness as to who they are, not by what we make think of otherwise. To put it in simple terms, approaching a child with autism is all based on the things that we can encounter, and how we response to each one of it in a cordial and virtues way.
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How Does Asd Affect Communication
The word autism has its origin in the Greek word autos, which means self. Children with ASD are often self-absorbed and seem to exist in a private world in which they have limited ability to successfully communicate and interact with others. Children with ASD may have difficulty developing language skills and understanding what others say to them. They also often have difficulty communicating nonverbally, such as through hand gestures, eye contact, and facial expressions.
The ability of children with ASD to communicate and use language depends on their intellectual and social development. Some children with ASD may not be able to communicate using speech or language, and some may have very limited speaking skills. Others may have rich vocabularies and be able to talk about specific subjects in great detail. Many have problems with the meaning and rhythm of words and sentences. They also may be unable to understand body language and the meanings of different vocal tones. Taken together, these difficulties affect the ability of children with ASD to interact with others, especially people their own age.
Below are some patterns of language use and behaviors that are often found in children with ASD.
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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Be Clear And Think About The Volume Level
“I’ve heard people with autism comment that others sometimes oversimplify things for them. It’s important to realize that verbal ability is not necessarily connected with intellectual ability,” said Zwaigenbaum. “Some people with limited verbal skills are highly intelligent.”
Similarly, monitor your volume level. For some people with autism, too much auditory stimuli, such as loud sounds, can be distressing.
Bottom line: Don’t make assumptions about someone’s intellectual capacity. “It is possible to find ways to communicate clearly with each person,” he said, adding that there may not be a need to change the message or content so much as the method. Also, if the setting is noisy, it may be better to move the conversation to a quiet place.
Tip 3: Create A Personalized Autism Treatment Plan
With so many different treatments available, it can be tough to figure out which approach is right for your child. Making things more complicated, you may hear different or even conflicting recommendations from parents, teachers, and doctors.
When putting together a treatment plan for your child, keep in mind that there is no single treatment that works for everyone. Each person on the autism spectrum is unique, with different strengths and weaknesses.
Your childs treatment should be tailored according to their individual needs. You know your child best, so its up to you to make sure those needs are being met. You can do that by asking yourself the following questions:
What are my childs strengths and their weaknesses?
What behaviors are causing the most problems? What important skills is my child lacking?
How does my child learn best through seeing, listening, or doing?
What does my child enjoy and how can those activities be used in treatment and to bolster learning?
Finally, keep in mind that no matter what treatment plan is chosen, your involvement is vital to success. You can help your child get the most out of treatment by working hand-in-hand with the treatment team and following through with the therapy at home.;
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The Difference Between Typical And Functional
Longtime autism researcher Laurent Mottron wrote a recent scientific editorial in which he points out that the current approach to treating a child with autism is based on changing them, making them conform, suppressing repetitive behaviors, intervening with any obsessive interests. Our family experienced this firsthand. Some of our early behavioral therapists would see Gio lie on the ground to play, his face level with the cars and trucks he was rolling into long rows, and they would tell us, Make him sit up. No lying down. Lets rearrange the cars. Tell him, they dont always have to be in a straight line, Gio!
To me, this approach seemed rigid. We dont all have to act in the exact same way. These kids need to function, not robotically imitate normal.
How To Calm A Child With Autism
There are certain calming do’s and don’ts that apply to most children with autism. These are based on the factors that autistic children have in common, specifically:
- Difficulty with understanding social norms and conventions
- Difficulty with following or using non-verbal communication
- Unawareness of others’ likely reactions to behaviors
- Sensory challenges that can get in the way of positive behaviors
- Lack of social motivation
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Be Comfortable With Silence
In some kids with ASD, verbal processing may take time. Others may be mostly non-verbal. Either way, it’s good to be comfortable with silence. If you ask a question, wait a very long time before you give up on an answer. This can feel a little uncomfortable at first, but it’s really helpful for the child. Just sit with him and wait. You may be surprised when he provides a lovely answer a couple minutes after you asked the question.
Using Positive Reinforcement To Encourage Behaviours
Positive reinforcement is when something positive occurs after a desired behaviour occurs, such as receiving praise or getting to do something we like, as a reward for the new alternative behaviour.
Rewards are considered concrete when something makes us feel good or intrinsic when we make someone else feel good.
Think of it in terms of If I do x, I will get something I like versus If I do x, I will make my mum happy .
Positive reinforcement can help motivate the person showing concerning behaviours to use new skills or desirable behaviours.
Note that some people on the spectrum respond best to concrete reinforcement as they can have difficulty understanding how other people feel. Its important to understand which you or your loved one responds to for this to be effective.
When using positive reinforcement:
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How To Be A Friend To Someone With Asd
The best way to be supportive and develop a good relationship with anyone is by asking how you can be a good friend, colleague, etc. So don’t be afraid to ask your friend with ASD, How can I be a better friend?”
In addition to the tips above, here are some suggestions for being a good friend. You may also find the tips we offer for extended family members of individuals with ASD helpful.
Do Make The Effort To Talk To Them
Because talking to kids with autism can be difficult, many adults take the easy way out and just avoid including them in conversations in the first place. But thats a mistake; both you and those children can benefit from attempts at conversation, even if they are not always successful.
Theres also a tendency to assume that if an autistic child doesnt respond or shuts you down that they dont like you or dont want to talk. But thats not always the case; that signal would be clear from a neurotypical individual but for someone with ASD, its just a part of the syndrome. Dont take it personally, and dont stop trying to gently involve autistic kids in your conversations. They probably want to engage, they just have more difficulty figuring out how.
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