Do's and don'ts of interacting with people with autism

02 Apr 2022 08:25am
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Untitled design (95)

Autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that may impact how a person socializes, communicates, behaves or learn.

Every person on the spectrum reacts differently to their surroundings, so it’s best to learn how you can interact with them.

A senior psychologist from The National Autism Society of Malaysia (NASOM), Liew Bee Wah shared about do’s and don’ts when interacting with individuals with autism.

Do: Always be patient

Some people with autism may act aggressively. This involves tantrums or sudden violent outbursts. Don’t be alarmed and try your best to stay calm.

If the child does not respond to you as you like, don't let it hurt your feelings. Children with autism may have difficulty expressing and controlling their emotions. They tend to be forthright in their comments.

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Do: Ignore attention-getting behavior

A child with autism may misbehave to obtain your attention. The best way to address this is to simply ignore it. Discuss and reward the child's good behavior on a regular basis.

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Do: Be affectionate and respectful

Sometimes children with autism, frequently require hugs. They may require hugs more frequently than other children. However, some autistic children dislike being touched at all, and even minimal contact might cause them distress. Be considerate of their personal space. Never force physical affection on a child who does not want it.

Do: Learn from your child

Your child's special needs and abilities may open your eyes to a new perspective on the world. Tough times always hits, although enjoy every moment with your child and learn from them about the world we have never seen.

Don’t: Don't let an autism diagnosis completely define your child

Yes, the earlier a child with autism gets help, the better their chances of a successful outcome. Yet, don’t let an autism diagnosis completely define your child because every child with autism is special and they might have different development, talents.

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Don’t: Don't let the autism diagnosis, or the attention you provide to your child with autism, consume your family life, especially if you have other children.

Children with autism need special attention, especially from their parents. However, if you’re a parent of two children; don’t ignore your other child to give attention to a child with autism. This might break the bonding between family members. Treat all children equally and create bonding within each family member.

Liew Bee Wah said the approach for an adult should be more direct because they may not understand the “hints” in our language while the approach for children requires more patience and for adults to facilitate the consequences of social situations.

“There are no differences between the way you interact with people with autism or other a non-disabled person. Individuals with autism can interact with people normally; they only need more patience and explanation with an unfamiliar situation,” she explained.