Autism is a disorder that’s been prominent in the public eye for the last thirty years. Unfortunately, despite being widely discussed, many don’t think about what it’s like to have autism or to know and love someone with autism in your daily life. If you have someone on the spectrum in your family and want to help them, here are the top ways to do so.
Be Patient and Communicate How You Can
Although not all children with autism are mute, most people with autism communicate a little differently than neurotypical people. Some may think they come off as dry in some conversations, while excitable and hyperactive in ones where they’re discussing a special interest.
It’s never right to be cruel or tell someone to ‘use their words when they’re struggling, so try to keep your tone calm and think about it from their point of view. Consider how they communicate the easiest and work with them from that level.
Invest In Therapy That Can Help Them Adjust
The best way to help someone with autism manage their symptoms in a way that won’t cause them distress is to consider ABA therapy services. Behavioral therapy doesn’t try to ‘fix’ them or make them neurotypical, but it does work to give them the tools they’ll need to navigate society.
This is better when younger people with autism attempt it because it gives them the chance to develop coping mechanisms rather than have reaction-based behaviors ingrained in their actions.
Understand That Meltdowns and Blow Ups Aren’t Personal
Many autistic people struggle with emotional regulation when they get overwhelmed or have a need that’s not being taken care of. This can be caused by too many noises happening at once, a lack of food for too long, or even traffic becoming too much of a hassle. When these happen, and they get overstimulated, people with autism can often lash out and let all of their energy escape at once in a meltdown. They may say hurtful things or be seen as mean, but it’s a reaction to overstimulation: not a judgment of what they think of you.
Learn How To Avoid Triggers and Overstimulation
A great way you can help is to aid in avoiding or minimizing triggers and overstimulation. Please pay attention to the signs they show when things start too much for them, and then help them by either aiding them in getting to a calmer place, giving them headphones to shut out the noise, or helping them push through whatever social situation is causing it. There’s no proven way to avoid meltdowns altogether; working with them to avoid what causes this pain can be helpful.
Show Them You Love Them Unconditionally
It’s easy to feel ostracized or misunderstood when you have autism. The media seems to say one thing about the disease, and it can be hard to prove that you’re your person once people know about the diagnosis. Work with the people who have autism in your life, and show them that you love and value them: that matters more than anything else.