Autism - Support
Autism one size does not fit all. Care instructions: every item is unique. Please read.
How to support people with autism:
- Explain at every stage what you are about to do, what will happen next and why.
- Give ther person enough time to understand the information you are sharing and wait a few seconds for a response if it is not given immediately.
- Questions should be clear and direct using language that is easy to understand and pictures where necesssary - do not rely on the person to pick up on the meaning of your questions or body language.
- People with autism might take what you say literally so avoid words with a double meaning and humour that could be misunderstood.
- Maintain a routine - familiarity is often important to some people with autism.
- Social difficulties may include lack of eye contact and unusual body language, talking at inappropriate moments or about inappropriate topics.
- Repetitive behaviours might be a coping mechanism and therefore should be respected.
- The environment is important - some people with autism are particularly sensitive to light, movement, sounds, smell, and touch. Try to keep the immediate environment as calm as possible to help alleviate any anxiety.
- Always consider the person's behaviour in terms of his or her autism, even if it becomes challenging.
- Ask the person or parent or carer or advocate what support they might need.
Four things a child with autism needs the most - love, acceptance, care, help
Ten things every child with autism wants you to know.
- I'm first and foremost a child. Autism is just one aspect of my character.
- Ordinary sights, sounds, and touches or everyday life that are normal to you, can be painful to me.
- It isn't that I don't listen to you... It's just that I can't understand you.
- I like routines because I know what to expect.
- Don't compare me with other children... I'm special in my own way.
- It's hard for me to tell you what I need, when I don't know the words to say it.
- Be patient and consistent. I learn better when you tell, show, and do things with me.
- Focus and build on what I can do rather than what I can't do.
- I want to be with others, but I don't know how.
- Love me unconditionally... coz I promise I'm worth it.
I am autistic. If I have given you this card, it is hard for me to communicate right now, but you can help!
Stay calm! I might...
- scream at loud noises or touch
- lash out if you touch me
- panic if yelled at
- rock, spin, pace, or flap my hands
- fidget with an object
- not be able to talk at all
- repeat things you say
- seem rude or tactless
- not reply to questions right away
- misunderstand what you say
- not make eye contact
To help us communicate...
- presume that I am competent
- give me extra personal space
- give me extra time to respond
- give me time to calm down
- turn down lights and noises
- let me write on a notepad
- only touch me if you have to
- tell me if you have to touch me
- only touch me with a firm grip
- be specific and concrete
- avoid slang and sarcasm
Autism spectrum disorder strays out of the lines and requires us to think outside of the box!
Ten things people with autism and aspergers teach me about life.
The truth is always best.
Personal bubbles do exist.
You don't need 12 pairs of shoes. One will do.
You must follow the rules.
Speak your mind. Don't be scared.
Some people are very very smart at 16.
People with disabilities can win activities.
Not everyone is capable of making friends.
Don't laugh right away, maybe it wasn't meant to be funny.
Don't judge a book by it's cover.
How to care for introverts:
Respect their need for privacy.
Never embarrass them in public.
Let them observe first in new situations.
Give them time to think. Don't demand instant answers.
Don't interrupt them.
Give them advance notice of expected changes in their lives.
Give them 15 minutes warnings to finish whatever they are doing.
Reprimand them privately.
Teach them new skills privately.
Enable them to find one best friend who has similiar interests and abilities.
Don't push them to make lots of friends.
Repect their introversion. Don't try to make them into extroverts.
Seven tips for a play date with a kid that has autism.
- Don't make your child act different.
- Give us a minute.
- Don't stop inviting.
- Know what they like to do.
- Don't just see the diagnosis.
- Don't judge the way we do things.
- Be flexible.
- communication skills: support communication (technology, sign language, PECS), use visual strategies (photos, symbols, schedules), keep instructions clear and precise, use simple language (avoid sarcasm, be aware of literal interpretations, avoid metaphors, similes, and idioms)
- class support: make tasks concrete (achievable), use interests to motivate, make pupils aware of changes to routine (visitors, supply, special days)
- social skills: make sure rules are understood (simple, structured), use social stories to help build awareness (simple sentences, visual support), help pupils identify 'good/bad' choices
- behaviour: praise good behavior, identify triggers and share information, develop strategies (cooling off time, distractions, reward system linked to personal interests)
- sensory: identify individual sensory problems (likes, dislikes, needs), plan coping strategies (toys, therapies, fidget items)
Operate on ASD time - Individuals with ASD have a unique internal clock.
- One speed
- The time allocated should adjust to the individual; the individual cannot adjust to the time in most cases
- Twice as much time, half as much done
Bullying and Children with ASD - A study finds children with autism are at an especially high risk of being bullied. Heere are the effects of children with ASD being bullied.
- Effect on behavior: 40% suffer a meltdown or outburst, 18% fought back
- Safety and trauma: 69% suffer emotional trauma, 14% scared for their own safety, 8% suffer physical injury
- Behavior: 38% were victims (28% frequently), 9% were bullies, 53% not effected
How Parents can Intervene - If parents know that their child is being bullied in school or on the bus there are a number of ways they can intervene. Here are six steps a parent can take to stop their child with autism from being bullied.
- Stay calm - It is important to try to stay calm and get as much information as possible to develop a plan for resolving the problem.
- Talk to your child - Get as much information as possible about the incident(s), names of those involved, what happened, from your child or his peers.
- Check your school's policies - Nearly every school has adopted a code of conduct policy. In general, the policies prohibit unwelcome verbal, written, or physical conduct, directed at the characteristics of specific enumerated groups.
- Start a paper trail - Get the name of the bully and make sure that an incident report is filed. The school must have notice of the incident and an opportunity to respond appropriately.
- Go up the chain of command - If you can't get results from a teacher or principal go to the director of special education.
- Educate the students - Ask the school administration and PTA to offer anti-bullying programs, positive behavior support, peer-to-perr support and inclusion-based activities for all students.
If you observe a parent with a child who's having a meltdown:
- Do - Offer to help.
- Do - Offer an encouraging word, nod or smile.
- Do - Try to remain calm.
- Do - Remove any objects or obstacles in the childs path or reach that could possible cause harm to him or her or anyone else in close proximity.
- Do - Try to be kind and supportive in whichever way you possibly can.
- Don't - Criticize their parenting.
- Don't - Rudely stare.
- Don't - Criticize their child.
- Don't - Be judgmental.
- Don't - Get loud and create a scene which draws even more attention to parent and child.
- Don't - Assume the child is spoiled, rude, or being a brat.
- Don't - Tell the parent to keep their child home if they can't control him or her.
If you start using a medication in a person with autism, you should see an obvious improvement in behavior in a short period of time. If you do not see an obvious improvement, they probably should not be taking the stuff. It is that simple. - Temple Grandin
There are a number of social service programs available for people with an autism spectrum diagnosis, including vocational rehabilitation, independent living services, special education services, social security, and programs for people with developmental disabilities. These programs target a wide range of areas such as employment, education, housing, self care, and recreation. In theory, this sounds great, but in practice, such services are often wrought with controversy. Just a few of many unanswered questions are:
- Eligibility: Are the people who need services actually getting them? Do the people in charge of services have suffcient understanding of autism to determine eligibility?
- Accessibility: Is the process for getting and managing services accessible? Are the services given appropriate, safe, and accessible?
- Inclusiveness: What is inclusion really, and should it be pursued at all cost? Are the necessary services for learning or survival available to people in all socio-economic brackets?
- Effectiveness: Do services focus on life long health, or only provide crisis management? How can limited funds be used most eficiently and effectively?
- Individualization: It's often said that "if you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism." Are services such as Individualized Education Plans really being tailored the students' particular learning needs, or are service organizations tied up instead in the rigidity of their own bureaucracy?
Back to school tips for autism parents:
- Make morning easier
- Must have essentials
- Ease transitiions
- Intro letter
- Book suggestions