Sunday, January 15, 2017

5 Things to Tell Your Kids About Autistic Children

After my last post for Autism *Understanding* I was asked to make one specifically for kids so that they could help young children understand and help better interactions with autistic children. Here's what I came up with:

1) Autistic kids are like you: they have favorite things and like to have fun! But autistic kids are also different from you because what is fun for you may not be fun to them, and vice versa.

2) Autistic kids may seem strange or weird because they may act differently than other kids. They may repeat the same words or actions over and over, or become scared by something that doesn't seem scary to you. But try to remember that *you* are weird and strange to them, too!

3) Autistic kids say exactly what they mean and expect others to do the same. Sometimes this causes confusion! But that's okay; just try again. Sometimes they don't say anything at all. That's okay, too.

4) Sometimes autistic kids are too rough when playing. They aren't trying to be mean; it doesn't feel the same to them as it does to you. Sometimes autistic kids want to never be touched. Please respect that.

5) The easiest way to play with an autistic kid is to follow their lead and copy what they are doing as a way to start.

Remember that autistic kids want friends and to be friendly; they just often don't know how to or are not very good at it. And they don't understand teasing. They won't do it on purpose and they won't understand if it's done to them.

Feel free to share to promote Autism Understanding!

Can any of my fellow ASD parents chime in? Anything to add, anything I missed, or a better way to say something?

Autism Exists!

Autism exists!!!

Oh, wait, you already knew that? But that's all you need to know to have awareness, right? No? Hmm, well, how about instead of posting silly sentences that doesn't promote autism *understanding* you share this:

1) 2014 CDC statistics have 1 in 68 kids as being autistic. Since the definition of autism is expanding and changing all the time, and since girls on the spectrum are often missed, it's probably more than that. That means, unless you're a hermit, you're probably meeting more autistic people than you realize.

2) Autism is a spectrum; that means that there are variations and differences in various degrees of intensity. There will be people who you don't think "look" autistic, but are. If you've met one person with autism, you've met one person. Don't expect all other autistic people to act the way the one person with autism that you know does.

3) Asperger's and "High Functioning Autism" are now known as ASD (autism spectrum disorder) level 1. Unless the person identifies *themselves* as an Aspie, try to use current terms.

4) Most people on the spectrum do not enjoy being touched by people they aren't very close to. (I mean, do YOU want to be touched by strangers?) So while all autistic people are different, it's a good rule of thumb that unless someone is in IMMEDIATE DANGER, keep your hands to yourself.

5) Don't bring up vaccines. Seriously; DO NOT. I don't care which way you think, don't bring them up unless you WANT to come across as a clueless jerk.

If you never have anyone on the autism spectrum in your close social circle, then this is the main stuff you should know. If you do have someone in your family or close social circle who is on the spectrum, the best source of information it the person themselves (or their parent if they're a child.)
If you'd like some more information of what NOT to say, here's a link to my blog post about that.

Please share for actual Autism Understanding that helps the community.
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