Autism Awareness: Tips For Reaching Out

Autism Speaks Light It Up Blue

If you know someone who has autism or a child with autism, it may be difficult for you to know how to interact with them or their child.  This can be made more difficult by misinformation you may have been given that people with autism are not affectionate, loving, or interested in social interactions.  This is not true.  What’s true is that everyone is a unique individual and has their own social preferences.  

A few useful tips when reaching out to a  child with autism:

  • Don’t be afraid to say “hi” and invite them to participate in things you are doing; they might just say no, but frequently they’re not sure how to join in on their own. 
  • Children with autism may need a little more time to be in an environment and watch before they feel comfortable to join in.
  • When giving directions or interacting, be as direct and concrete as possible.
  • Give lots of choices, both for participation and within the activity.  (“You can keep watching or  come stand here and throw the ball.”)

Ask a the child’s parent for tips on interacting with their individual child, BUT, don’t do it in front of the child.  

Today is World Autism Awareness Day.  And as you go about your day today, you might notice lots of blue.  

Autism Speaks has started it’s “Light It Up Blue” campaign to help spread awareness. You can learn more about autism here or support them and this project from their website.