You need to be living in a deserted island in order to not know about autism. It is on every media outlet, and right now this month is autism awareness month, so you get a double dose about this subject.
We hear about acceptance, red flags, struggles, milestones, celebrations. Those are all our every day life’s occurrences, just like when you have a typical kid.
Most of us have neurotypical child, so we all know what we do for them, what we talk about , and the same goes for the kids with autism, but it might be more detailed and a bit more deeper.
Still, we have a long way to go to see more defined acceptance and understanding. So here are a few tips for those who are not living with and ASD child, but want to know more about them.
1).The ASD child might not be verbal, meaning doesn’t talk, or have no functional speech, but they still understand what you are saying. So watch your words, because words can hurt just as much as physical harm. We should all be accountable of what, when or how we say things to these individuals, and their caretakers.
2).Also, try to be respectful, because there is no reason not to be. Here is a main reason why we should give them respect…these kids have to make a huge effort to learn things that it comes to the rest of us naturally. Yet they still manage to get up every morning and go on with their lives,even put a smile on their face. Lets face it, they work much harder than you and me together.
3).When you talk to them talk to them as you would to anyone else. They do understand, and they might even reply if they are verbal. Give them a chance and treat them as your equal.
4). Please don’t get hang up on the famous “eye contact” subject. If someone is looking at you it doesn’t mean they listen to you, or if they don’t look at you, they might be very well listening. Trust me, been there done that. Sometimes I am annoyed by certain people when they talk to me. I look at them, but learned to tune them out and have no clue what they saying nor do I have any interest of what they are telling me. If you wonder, NO, I am not autistic just a typical human being. Now, these kids may not look at you, but they hear and comprehend everything you have to tell them. So don’t get offended if they don’t look at you.
5). If you witness one of their meltdowns, don’t jump into conclusions. We all have those moments when we want to scream and stomp and cry. Sometimes we do it, in private, or have a good cry, or we call someone to vent. These kids don’t know how to cope when they are overwhelmed, and many times they can not verbalize their complex feelings. These individuals are the most honest, transparent human beings you will ever meet. They will never hide what they feel, nor will they disguise it like us.One of the amazing qualities they have. that you will never have to worry about mind games when you are dealing with autistic kids/adults. So how cool is that. Just knowing this should be enough of an excuse to cut them some slacks and overlook their tantrum. That would be a great help for the parents and caretakers too. One less stress to deal with, they don’t have to endure the stares, and ignorant comments.
6).When you know someone with this diagnosis, don’t condemn them or treat them as such. Look at their ability not their disability. Trust me, when you really get to know them, you will be so surprised how much gift these kids can offer to the world.
7). Look at these kids/adults as you would any typical individuals. They have their own unique passion, interest of many things, or just one area that gives them fascination. They have dreams and goals they want to achieve. Help them to fulfill their life goals by respecting them, and encourage them.
8).Forgive them and find excuses for their shortcomings. We all have faults, we just hide it better.
9).Before you judge, learn more about autism, and accept that not everyone is doing things the same way, and not everyone progresses the same rate. We are used to a certain social norm, which we created for ourselves, we need to be open-minded and allow others to create their own norms.
This year, this month is an autism acceptance month. Please accept our kids as they are, and pray that they will reach their full potential.
Thank you, from a bottom of my heart.