How Can I Help My Friends With Autism
If you have an observant child, they may have already noticed a child who is different in their class. Perhaps they are keen to help in some way, but they dont know how to approach or involve the autistic child.;
Here are some ideas on how to be friends with someone with autism:
- Ask them what they like to do.
- Give them extra time to answer your;question or to work out what they need to do.
- Talk in short sentences or use pictures to help them understand.
- Understand that some children might find it difficult to talk, while others might talk a lot but only about their special interests.;
- Ask about their special interests if they have any; tell them about yours too.
- Protect your friend by letting adults know if they are upset
- Think about their good points and tell them do they have a good memory, a great smile or a good imagination?
- Be patient if they are getting upset. They dont want to hurt you, they may just be frightened or frustrated.
- Include them in your games small groups or individuals are usually much easier for autistic children to understand and play with.
- Ask your teacher questions about your friend if you are not sure why they are doing something differently
- Help explain what you know about autism to other children who might not understand it.
To find out more about our experiences, please visit Stephs blog too. In particular, she has some excellent resources on the Pathological Demand Avoidance profile of autism:
Tips For Explaining Autism To Family Friends And Kids
If your child has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, you may be wondering what this diagnosis means for them and their future. Along with these overwhelming feelings of confusion and uncertainty, you may be wondering if you should share this news with friends and family and how you should explain it. The good news is, as you come to terms with this new future for your family, you will be able to better understand what and how to share with others; It might just take some time. Here are some tips that will help you when you are explaining autism to family and friends.
What Should Julie Do
Four-year-old John flings himself on the floor, screaming and flailing his arms, as his 5-year-old brother Tim stands watching. Worried hes going to be blamed again he is about to bolt out of the living room as his mother, Julie, catches him by the arm on her way in.
I didnt do anything! Tim exclaims before his mom even asks, stamping his foot. Hes near tears himself. This always happens when I play with John, he thinks. Hes such a baby! Im never playing with him again!
Julie sighs. Thats what Tim always says. I know John is over-sensitive but why cant Tim just leave him alone? What am I supposed to do? I cant watch them all the time. You know John likes to play by himself. Why do you keep bothering him?
John has autism, and while Julie wants her kids to get along she would do anything to stop the tantrums. When she and her husband Dave decided to have a second child they had no idea what challenges they would face. Each day is a constant struggle to manage Johns needs, and Tim just wont listen.
After making sure John isnt going to hurt himself, Julie crouches down in front of Tim. ;She notes his tears and realizes her anger with her son has as much to do with her frazzled nerves as his lack of understanding. ;
You always yell at me when he cries, her son sobs. ;
She hugs the little boy. ;Hes right, she thinks. ;I do get mad at Tim. ;I know I do. ;Why dont we think about what we can both do differently?
Read Also: How To Discipline A High Functioning Autistic Child
A Parents Guide To Autism Treatment And Support
If youve recently learned that your child has or might have autism spectrum disorder, youre probably wondering and worrying about what comes next. No parent is ever prepared to hear that a child is anything other than happy and healthy, and an ASD diagnosis can be particularly frightening. You may be unsure about how to best help your child, or confused by conflicting treatment advice. Or you may have been told that ASD is an incurable, lifelong condition, leaving you concerned that nothing you do will make a difference.
While it is true that ASD is not something a person simply grows out of, there are many treatments that can help children acquire new skills and overcome a wide variety of developmental challenges. From free government services to in-home behavioral therapy and school-based programs, assistance is available to meet your childs special needs and help them learn, grow, and thrive in life.
When youre looking after a child with ASD, its also important to take care of yourself. Being emotionally strong allows you to be the best parent you can be to your child in need. These parenting tips can help by making life with an autistic child easier.
Practical Guide To Explaining Autism To Your Child
The month of April is known as Autism Awareness Month. This month is dedicated to increasing awareness about the disorder of Autism. While it may be difficult to explain the technical aspects of autism, autism can still be explained to children in a clear manner. By cutting the jargon and explaining to your child that a child with autism will act in x,y,z manner, youre cutting away their confusion and making room for your child to accept them as an equal.
So, how can you explain to your child what autism is?
Kelly Ernsperger, a social worker and owner of Autism Counseling & Behavior Consultation explains it like this: Autism affects how the brain works and can make it difficult for some people to talk, understand others, make friends or calm themselves down when they feel worried or stressed. This simple language talk will show your child that autism affects how they react to situations, people, surprises etc.
Children with autism may be hyper-focused on certain topics or interests. They may have an enjoyment to constantly speak about the same topic, be it airplanes, books etc.
Children with autism may be nonverbal, but that does not reflect on their mental capabilities. They may not know how to react, but that doesnt mean they dont have feelings or inclinations.
Children with autism may repeat specific motions over and over. That doesnt mean that we should stare if we see them doing something repeatedly.
Why is blue associated with autism?
Light it up Blue!
Recommended Reading: Can Speech Delay Mimic Autism
The Autism Spectrum Disorder Guidelines That Shape Our Approach
The autism spectrum disorder Guideline is the basis for working with people who have ASD in schools and the community. Its a constantly updated living guideline.
Intensive early intervention for children and students on the spectrum has significant benefits. The guideline recommends:
- intervention and support as soon as possible;
- responsive services for children, families and whnau
- structured teaching and environments that reflect unique needs
- support in everyday situations alongside their peers.
The research indicates that, with the right kind of teaching, students with ASD develop social and communication skills, and manage their stress and behaviour.
Explaining Autism To Strangers
This might be the most difficult thing you do some days. Whether its the rude lady in the grocery store talking about your childs meltdown, or a fellow mama in the park who asks why your child is stimming, you will often find yourself explaining autism to strangers. The first step? Taking a deep breath and trying to remember your life before you knew all about autism. You probably knew one or two autistic kids and thought that was an accurate representation of autism as a whole. You probably said things that you shouldnt have. Try to remember all of that and have patience.
Then, you need to determine how much is appropriate to share. If someone asks what youre child is doing, you can simply say oh, hes stimming. Its something that autistic people do when theyre excited and leave it at that. If its a mom at the playground who seems interested, feel free to go into more detail. Another thing to keep in mind is that you are not obligated to share with anyone. If someone is being rude about your child, telling them that your child is autistic isnt likely to change their behavior. You do not need to be a walking PSA for autism awareness/acceptance.
Also Check: Can A Child Outgrow Autism
Do Symptoms Of Autism Change Over Time
For many children, symptoms improve with age and behavioral treatment. During adolescence, some children with ASD may become depressed or experience behavioral problems, and their treatment may need some modification as they transition to adulthood. People with ASD usually continue to need services and supports as they get older, but depending on severity of the disorder, people with ASD may be able to work successfully and live independently or within a supportive environment.
Restricted Or Repetitive Behaviors Or Interests
People with ASD have behaviors or interests that can seem unusual. These behaviors or interests set ASD apart from conditions defined by only problems with social communication and interaction.
Examples of restricted or repetitive interests and behaviors related to ASD can include:
- Lines up toys or other objects and gets upset when order is changed
- Repeats words or phrases over and over
- Plays with toys the same way every time
- Is focused on parts of objects
- Gets upset by minor changes
- Has obsessive interests
- Flaps hands, rocks body, or spins self in circles
- Has unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel
You May Like: Can A Child With Autism Be Denied Ssi
Sesame Street And Autism: See Amazing In All Children
In October 2015, Sesame Workshop created Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children, a national initiative aimed at families and communities with children 2 to 5 years old. See Amazing in All Children offers families ways to manage common challenges, to simplify everyday activities, and to grow connections and support from family, friends, and community.
How To Explain Autism To Kids
If the past year has taught us anything,;talking to children about diversity;is vital in helping to raise thoughtful, sensitive kids. And those discussions should also expand to include conversations around neurodiversity, including autism.
The Center for Disease Control defines autism as “a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges.” It estimates that about one in 54 kids are autistic and explains that autism’s found in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.
Whether your child is autistic or not, you shouldn’t ignore the subject. Talking about autism normalizes it. “When parents don’t talk about disability to their children, they reinforce the idea that disability is shameful or scary or bad,” says Lydia X.Z. Brown, an autistic attorney.
Brown was diagnosed with autism when they were 13.
“I didn’t know really what autism was. I don’t think most young children tend to,” says Brown. “The only ideas of autism that I had were very stereotypical…so even to the extent that I knew what autism was or that it existed, I wouldn’t have been aware that it might have applied to me.”
Mashable spoke with Brown and experts who study autism and work with autistic children to learn about how you can navigate conversations about autism with your kids.
Don’t Miss: Can You Stop Being Autistic
Be Consistent Each Day
Consistency is key! Children with autism thrive on steady patterns and a reliable schedule. Changing up their routines throughout the day, from day to day, is not advised. Giving a child with autism a visual schedule for their day and sticking to the plan can assist them in being more independent, in preparing for transitions and what is coming up next in their day, and helps lessen anxiety and worry. Children on the spectrum tend to prefer rules and routine over spontaneity and going with the flow. Teachers and parents of these children will learn quickly that being inconsistent is not what is best. Of course, things happen that are out of their control; in those instances, it is always good to know what the calming strategies are and also what Plan B is going to be.;
How Is Autism Spectrum Disorder Treated
There is no cure for autism, but treatment can make a big difference. The younger kids are when they start treatment, the better.
Doctors, therapists, and special education teachers can help kids learn to talk, play, and learn. Therapists also help kids learn about making friends, taking turns, and getting along.
You May Like: Can A Person With Autism Live A Normal Life
Teach Coping Skills And Calming Strategies
Children with autism absolutely need to be taught coping skills and calming strategies for when they are feeling frustrated, anxious, or are having sensory overload. For lower-level ASD students, they may need assistance with using these strategies and wont be able to do them independently. It is not uncommon for children with autism to seem anxious, fidget, or even have a meltdown. Providing physical and emotional tools to help calm the body and mind are important during times of stress or sensory overload.;
Examples of these include providing a weighted blanket, a bouncy seat, a fidget or other sensory toy to play with, turning the lights down, playing soft music, giving noise-cancelling headphones to wear, allowing the student to use a sensory room or go to a calm space in the classroom, practicing deep breathing and stretching, counting backward, tapping, etc. Each child will have his or her own preferences and what is used will also depend upon the situation. A SPED teacher and a parent of a child with autism should have a toolbox full of calming strategies handy.
Make Sure Your Child Sees A Person Not A Disability
This is true for people with any kind of special needs, not just autism. Sometimes our children may be curious about behaviors they see or students who look different for one reason or another. Almost every parent has had that moment where their child stares for a little too long. In those cases, you can try to find something about that person your child can relate to. For example, if you see a little girl with a sparkly backpack on who is spinning and making sounds, point out her backpack and mention to your child how neat it is. This technique helps initiate interaction and helps your child get over their fear of unfamiliar behaviors.
Children are growing up in a world much more diverse than that of previous generations. If you model acceptance and understanding, not only will you raise kind, supportive individuals but they will be better prepared for their future in a world of uniquely able people.
Recommended Reading: Is Junie B Jones Autistic
Interacting With A Child Who Has Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder is;a developmental disorder. It affects how children interact and communicate with others. The disorder;is called a spectrum disorder because;children can be anywhere on the autism spectrum.
Children with ASD start to show symptoms at an early age. The symptoms continue during childhood and adulthood. Healthcare providers;dont know why some children develop ASD. It may be a combination of genes they are born with and something in their environment that triggers those genes.
Children with ASD have trouble relating to other people. They have trouble making eye contact. They often withdraw into themselves. They may seem uninterested in relating to family members.
But some children with ASD may love to keep talking with family members, friends, and even strangers about a topic they are obsessed with. The problem is that they may talk about it too long. Or they may talk only about that one subject. This can push other people away.
If you are a parent or grandparent of a child with ASD, it can be heartbreaking if you feel like you just can’t connect with him or her. But learning more about these disorders and what has helped others can help you and your relationship.
Celeste Shally And David Harrington
Ages 4-8Since Were Friends is a picture book to help children in pre-school through second grade better understand those on the autism spectrum. The story is about Matt, who has autism, and his best friend, who does not. Together, the two boys navigate sometimes-challenging social situations as they play sports, watch movies, read books, and talk about animals.ISBN-10: 1616086564 ISBN-13: 978-1616086565
You May Like: Can Autism Be Diagnosed In Adulthood
Books To Help Explain Autism To Your Child
Somethings Different About Andrew,;Written and illustrated by Kyndal Gary, a senior at Columbus East High School
Autism is a wide spectrum, which explains how people with it function. My type of Autism is high functioning, which helps me be more social and self-sufficient. However, other levels of Autism affect other peoples social skills and ability to be self-sufficient.
Ethans Story; My Life with Autism.;Written by Ethan Rice, Illustrated by Crystal Ord
A childrens book written by eight year old Ethan Rice who happens to be autistic. In this fully illustrated book Ethan explains what autism means to him and why he feels so very blessed that God made him this way.
Leahs Voice,;Written by Lori Demonia, Illustrated by Monique Turchan
Leahs Voice;is a story that touches on the difficulties children encounter when they meet a child with autism or special needs. Siblings may find it hard to explain to their friends, or feel disappointed when others arent understanding. This book tells the story of two sisters facing these challenges. Through her kindness and devotion, one sister teaches by example the importance of including everyone and showing acceptance.
Looking After Louis,;Written by Lesley Ely, Illustrated by Polly Dunbar
A young girl sits next to a boy named Louis at school. Louis has autism, but through imagination, kindness, and a special game of soccer, his classmates find a way to join him in his world. Then they can include Louis in theirs.