What is Autism?

Autism is a lifelong neurological disability that affects a person's ability to communicate, understand language, play and socially interact with others. The first signs of Autism usually appear as developmental delays before age three. Autism is classified as a developmental disability because it interferes with the typical rate and patterns of childhood development. A kid with Autism looks the same as me and you, but Autism changes the way their brain works. 

Characteristics

Every person with Autism is different. However, there are some common characteristics of individuals with Autism that may occur. Remember that although these are some common characteristics, no two persons with Autism experience the world or behave in the same way. 

-Difficulty using and understanding language.

-Poorly developed social skills and unusual play with toys.

-Over or under sensitivity to sound, light, taste, touch, or smell.

-Repetitive behaviors such as spinning objects or rocking.

-Difficulty with changes to surroundings or routines.

-Certain behaviors exhibited to stimulate the senses, such as switching a light on and off repeatedly, or humming loudly. 

-Uneven skill development. Some skills are normal or superior for their age while others show significant delay. 

-Challenging behaviors such as aggression, self-injury, or severe withdrawal. 

 

Be Friends With Someone With Autism

Just because a kid with Autism can't speak, doesn't mean they can't hear you or understand what you are saying. They do some things differently, but they like to have friends and do fun things even if they can't tell you they do. Being a friend is one of the best things you can do to help them. You can learn many things from your friend with Autism too! 

-Play games they like to play

-Be kind and patient

-Sit next to them in class or at lunch

-Invite them to birthday parties and attend theirs

A Friend With Autism Wants You To Know

-Please include me. I may not know how to ask you to play or to be friends.

-I may flap my hands, make noises, or repeat things to show my excitement.

-Please don't think I am ignoring you, I am listening even if I don't look at you.

-Please be patient, I may not answer you right away.

-Bright lights, loud noises, and strong smells might bother me.

-Please don't stare or laugh if I become frustrated or upset.

-All behavior is a form of communication. 

-I am funny, smart, and kind.

-I can be a great friend!

-Remember to be understanding and see past my differences.

-We are more alike than different.

-The most important thing to remember is that kids with Autism are just KIDS!