You are about to be around a person with autism or are living with someone with ASD – now what?
If you are in day to day contact with a person with autism, you have been given a divine responsibility. Each of us has something to contribute either good or bad to an autistic person. There are some things you should and should not do when around a person with ASD(Autism Spectrum Disorder). Here are 5 do’s and don’ts on how to behave around a person with autism.
5 Things you should do around a person with autism.
- Show the same type of encouragement and love as you would to a child or adult who does not have autism.
- Try to treat an autistic person as if they are "normal" , or do not have ASD, yet being mindful of their needs.
- Have Patience.
- Be ready to help in unexpected ways.
- Get over yourself, you may be asked to stand tall in the face of embarrassment.
5 don’ts when being around an autistic person.
5 things you should not do or allow your children to do around a person with autism.
- Never allow bullies to tease or humiliate a person with ASD.
- Do not overlook bad behavior from a child who has autism, just because they have the disorder.
- Don’t ignore or leave a person with ASD out of activities. The flip side of this is; don’t talk about them as if they are not there. They are listening to everything.
- Make eye contact even if they do not.
- Don’t react negatively if the person with autism does not reciprocate emotions to you as you do them. Remember it isn’t about you.
The autism spectrum disorder has its highs and its lows with regards to abilities. As a mother of an autistic son I have come to some pretty wonderful conclusions. They are smart! They are "in there", waiting to come out.
A person within the autism spectrum disorder may embarrass you; get over yourself!
If you hang out with a person with autism, trust me, you will have to get over yourself; leave all pride and reservations at the door. They will unknowingly act different than we are used to, and in the most inopportune places and times. If you have a child with ASD, you know exactly what I am talking about.
Many of them like to spin(a form of stemming). You ask, "what is spinning?". It is just as it sounds. They like to spin their bodies around and around in one spot, or as they are walking across the floor, making a grand entrance. To understand what this is, get up and put your arms out to make a "t" with your body, now spin. Not all autistic kids spin, but if yours does, you will have to get used to it.
Autistic people need to be treated as though they are “normal”
A person with ASD needs to be shown the same amount of encouragement, and love, as any other person you love. They may not respond to you in the same way you act towards them. This should not hinder how you behave towards them. It takes a person with autism much longer to learn from watching his or her environment, than it does for a person who does not have this disorder.
Being around a person within the autism spectrum disorder will also require patience. It is important that they feel as if they are "normal". This is so they can develop a healthy self-esteem. Never let a bully have fun at an autistic person’s expense. Autistic people do not understand abstract thoughts very easily. This can be a great source of fun for a group of kids, especially when the autistic kid doesn’t "get" an abstract concept, such as a joke. Frustration will set in, and despair in the heart of the autistic child. This applies to adults as well.
Autistic people have a hard time with relationships. Be ready to help.
It is a normal part of an ASD’s nature to try to control everything when taking part in activities with others. Children with ASD have a harder time allowing others to participate in the creativity of a game. They want to control everyone, tell them what to say, do, and more. It can be quite frustrating. It comes across as, "I’m always right", syndrome. Some autistic children will go hide in a corner or zone out,however.
Be ready to help in unexpected ways. Some autistic people are not able to move their bodies well, others have a hard time talking with clarity. If you have a spirit of caring and helpfulness, you won’t have a problem in acting correctly around a person with autism.
Don’t be tempted to ignore these precious people. Their minds are always thinking. Recently my son told me, in his hard to speak way, that when he was really little, a toddler, he could not speak well, but in his mind he could think very well. It brought me to tears hearing him express this. It made me feel very bad to think there may have been a time when I didn’t talk to him like I should, or interact with him verbally, and challenge his mind.
Autism Spectrum Disorder(ASD)-Conclusion
Autistic adults have other "grown up" issues. Treat them with respect, understanding and love. They have the same desires for themselves as the rest of us.
They are not stupid, or retarded. They may need you to rephrase things for better understanding. Remember, they don’t "get" abstract thought the same as we do. They can learn how to get a joke, or how to tease, so be patient. They will miss out on conversations if you don’t pull them into them, however.
Autistic people are "normal" to themselves. To take away their autism is to take away their self. This is a concept I learned after reading the writings of an adult on one of the forums years ago. I never forgot that. As my husband likes to say," Their brains are just wired different than ours".