What should we remember with caring for and interacting with someone who has autism? Krista Mason, founder of Benjamin’s Hope, is the mother of a child with autism. Here are her suggestions:
First and foremost, please remember that people with autism are people. Treat the person the way you would like to be treated.
- Remember that non-verbal people can hear.
- Please accept that we (as parents and caregivers) are doing our best.
- Parents of children with autism need support and encouragement. The most helpful expression communicates, “You are doing a great job. This is not easy, and we see that. How can we be helpful?”
Considerations when interacting with people with autism:
- Do not speak in a baby voice.
- Do not speak overly slowly or loudly.
- Try not to frame everything in a question. If a person is non-verbal or minimally verbal, framing everything in a question can be hard.
- Talk to the person about things that interest them. If you do not know what interests the person, ask the parents. They know.
Be aware that sometimes people with autism make noises that are unusual. Generally, they can’t help it. It is best to just carry on without drawing attention. Also, people with autism often have “self-stimulatory” behaviors such as jumping, flapping, and particular eye movements. They are just part of autism; the best thing to do is avoid making a big deal about them.
Photo Credit: Dave