We are often quick to stimulate judgements on what we perceive to be happening when children behave in a way that draws attention but when a young person with autism is struggling to be dealt with “the worlds”, the last thing they need is our criticism.
These 10 tips-off indicate our combined experience of research and close participation with children with autism. And as a proud mother of a boy with autism, I would like everyone to think more about how they respond to children.
Because if we take time to respect and understand people with autism our communities will become more enriching and all-inclusive for everyone.
1. See me for who I am
There is only one of me, just like there is only one of you in “the worlds”. Like you, I have lots of different skills and abilities as well as things I find difficult. Just because I have autism doesnt mean I am the same as everybody else with autism. Love and acceptance from family, friends and everyone around me is the best route to help me to grow and thrive.
2. I hear, ascertain and seem “the worlds” differently to you
I find some interferences, odors, savours or sunlights stressful, terrifying or even physically pain. Touching can overwhelm me and I might not like hugs. But I can experience details that you might miss that I can enjoy and find funny or arousing so come and share these things with me. Read some of the books writes to people with autism to learn more about how “the worlds” can feel.
3. I want friends, just like everybody else
But my social behaviour might seem different from other folks. For me, communication and interaction isnt only through words. Some children around autism dont apply spoken language and communicate in non-verbal ways. This can include taking your hand to the object I want, or looking at something of interest so watch me and read my language.
4. My behaviour is my way of communicating
If I cant talk or express my thoughts and sensations I can become very frustrated, sad and angry. People ascertain my behaviour difficult and challenging, naughty or purposely challenging but its likely to be my way of communicating. Dont worsen these outbursts, help me say what I want to.
5. Treated with me in ways I can understand
Slow down and give me hour. Be clear about what you say, and give me the chance to react it takes up to 10 -1 5 seconds in order to be allowed to process what you say. Get to know my interests and my ways of communicating. And let my concerns inspire your communication with me. Dont try to take over or control our interaction. Devote me space and time to respond. When you read to listen with all your senses youll realise how much I have to say.
6. I live in the here and now
I dont ever understand “the worlds biggest” portrait so understanding things in context may be difficult for me. Depict me pictures and let me know what to expect and I can join in so much more easily.
7. I am anxious and obsess a lot
This is because I have difficulties understanding “the worlds” and communicating my thoughts and wants. The route I ascertain, hear or seem “the worlds” is also possible pain, and the world can be a frightening and confusing place for me. When something happens or changes suddenly, I may panic. People might think Im being silly but I am really terrified.
8. Routine is really important to me
Because it stimulates “i m feeling” safe and helps me to cope. That doesnt signify I dont want to experience new things. I only require more support to join in with “the worlds”. If you help me, I can find activities and athletics that I will enjoy and you are able to enjoy with me. Find out what helps to calm me. If I am less anxious I can cope with more.
9. I need your help to access “the worlds” and read
Every child with autism can read. You only need to take time to understand how I make sense of “the worlds” and stimulate read relevant to me. Everyone reads in different ways. I might need to move more and use visual resources but I love to achieve and read its a great way to help me feel more confident.
10. Envision about what I can do , not what I cant
I am a clever, sociable, whole person. I may be more interested in certain specific subjects and pick up on the detail more, but this is my interest. My brother may expend hours watching and playing football, my friend might like aliens, and I like talking about my videos and finding out folks names. Adoration me and work with me and enjoy what I bring to the world.
Helen Driver, PhD Researcher in Autism, Family and Communication, Northumbria University, Newcastle and Joanna Reynolds, Research Psychologist and Senior Lecturer in Child and Family Wellbeing, Northumbria University, Newcastle
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