“What to say and what not to say to someone with autism”
We live in a world where we often gain awareness about a subject or a topic only once we face it or someone related to us faces it. This is very much the case related to Autism and all information about it that exists.
In the society people are still not aware or affluent of what autism is and what can one do about it. Lot of awareness campaigns and drives are held so that we can gain acceptance , understanding and inclusion for individuals with Autism, but it is still a long and rocky road to go.
I am happy that we have made small success to enlighten many people about the neurodivergent world and the remarkable kings and queens that live in that world.
This blog is for parents , professionals , siblings and teachers who are connected and work with an autistic individual. When we live in the same roof with an autistic personality , we try to turn our world around them so that we can make them perform their maximum and to the fullest.
And no special needs parent would deny it.
But at times , unknowingly we utter certain sentences/statements that can be painful to a person or child with ASD.
Remember we might not intent to hurt or trigger them , but it just happens.
So I thought why not watch our words. This can help me and you to connect better and deeper with that special person in our lives.
…. lets read ahead
There are certain phrases or conversations that we might have done with a child , teenager or an adult with autism and you may have thought that you are imparting some empathy but it has actually had an adverse effect on that individual
—So when you say “ You seem so normal , you don’t look Autistic !”
Well you might mean something else , but to a person with autism , he/ she might think – How does someone with Autism look? What physical characteristics make someone look like they have Autism? None.
Then there would be times , when you would have commented “I have social issues too. I must have Autism.”
Hmm , I think when we say this , you are surely acknowledging your lack of socialization or some sensory difficulties. But to compare yourself to someone with autism diagnosis can make them feel “that you are rude and lack understanding about Autism.”
–Another statement that many parents would agree that they have heard from grandparents of an autistic grandchild. “Does this child need medication to cure it ?”As a therapist this one breaks my heart and I am sure you might have felt exactly the same .Well I feel upset that people think that medication is always involved.
So my point of view is whatever you know about autism could be an incomplete information , the best guide and pool of information is to hear out people who live with it. Read their biographies, research articles, published books and data by them. This will make more sense and give you most valid and accurate details about the world of autism
So I have made my mind , what I am going to say to a person with autism when I meet them next time is
1.Can you explain what is autism to me ?
2.I am here if you want to talk about anything you feel ?
3.Do you want to come and eat lunch with us ?
4.Ohh that explains a lot about you … that why you like to jump so hard on the ground ?
When you quote such comments and interact in this way , then the individual feels you are connecting to their core and are ready to understand them more. If you say how a small child will understand and comprehend your statements, well child can read vibrations you carry in your word and children with autism are quick to estimate some of your body language you show. This is why they love some of their therapists more than the other or want Mumma’s time more than dad’s time or vice versa.
They are very good silent observers. God has given them some abilities that we surely lack.
This blog of mine is purely intended to help you to have a fruitful relationship through words with an autistic person and be their ally. I don’t mean to comment on anyone’s parenting style or way of communication. But surely by keeping certain things in our immediate memory we can change the equation with our little ones.
Sharing happiness and affirming positivity your way
Signing out – Author Heena Sahi
Creative representation for this blog is done by our supertalented CreativeSaathi associate Kabir Vernal.