How You Can Support People With Autism

(source: ADDitude)

The first U.S. study of autism states that 2.2% of American adults have an autism spectrum condition. Therefore, according to the CDC, 5.4 million people aged 18 and older have autism spectrum conditions.  

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social communication and behavioral changes. You cannot tell if someone has autism based on their physical appearance. This is why it is essential to be aware of the condition, empathize with them and treat them as equals. Here are some of the experiences that you can help make others aware and help people with autism.

Recognize Sensory Overload

People with ASD process sensory information differently. Sensory information includes smell, sounds, tastes, sights, vibrations, and touch that people encounter every day. 

A lot of people with ASD can experience sensory overload. And may use self-stimulating behaviors to cope. Some of these behaviors include rocking back and forth, finger flicking, jumping, headbanging, running back and forth, and other repetitive actions. These actions make people with ASD feel better, helping them deal with stress and anxiety. 

To help someone experiencing sensory overload, first acknowledge that it is happening. If you are close to them, having a conversation prior to sensory overload, with them about their triggers and coping mechanisms will allow you to support them in the moment. 

Next, turn off any noise around them. You do not want to crowd them or touch them, but be patient. Stay calm and do not talk more than necessary in the situation. Lastly, listen to them. If they can tell you what helps them calm down just listen and do not panic.

Intense Passion or Special Interests

Some people with ASD have a particular interest that they enjoy talking about. They also have unique talents. Some people with ASD prefer to have a routine, so they know what will happen every day. For instance, like going to work and school the same way every day or eating the same lunch. 

You can help by adding to the structure in their routine, helping them manage uncertainties in their life. Identifying the interest can also be used to start conversations so they do not feel ostracized in social settings. Lastly, listening to them will help them feel relaxed and happy. 

(Source: Enabling Devices)

We want to highlight and celebrate the unique talents and awesomeness of those with autism. Our goal is to educate everyone about autism to increase understanding and promote kindness and empathy. Everybody has traits that make them unique, and instead of viewing them as hindrances, they can be considered strengths. 

People with autism do amazing things.  Do not force them to fit in with what you think is “normal,” always celebrate them for who they are. Zoe challenges all of her curlfriends to be kind to everyone. Kindness goes a long way. Speak kind and positively about people with autism. 

Happy World Autism Day!