People with disabilities, and autism in particular, face daily challenges with being accepted as members of society. If you are a parent of a child with autism or know someone with autism, then you have probably seen this firsthand. But if you do not happen to know anyone with autism, then there are plenty of ways that you can show your support. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Education is always the best first step when it comes to bridging the gap between people who may seem different from each other. If you have only seen autism from the outside, then it can look very confusing. But once you learn more about what autism is and how it affects a person’s brain, then it’s easier to have empathy. To start, one of the most important things you can learn about autism is that it is a disorder that mostly affects sensory processing. This means that autism can cause a person to be over-sensitive in certain environments or not stimulated enough. If a person with autism displays behaviors that might seem odd to you, then it is probably because they are coping with their environment, and there’s no reason to be concerned. It would be best if you also learned more about the autism community and how you can help advocate for more sensory-friendly accommodations to give children with autism equal opportunities to participate in society.
Thanks to media portrayal and outdated perceptions of autism, there are an unfortunate amount of stereotypes about the disorder. For example, several years ago, the definition of autism was quite narrow. It applied almost exclusively to boys who displayed a specific set of symptoms, such as an obsession with one subject matter like trains, impaired social ability, and repetitive behavior. Although that can be the case in some children with autism, this limited view could potentially frame people with autism as robotic or somehow disconnected from the human experience. That is just not true. People with autism are capable, smart, and have a complete range of emotions and personality traits like any other person. It’s important to keep in mind that when you meet one child with autism that the way they behave is not representative of all children with autism.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in the fields of pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (301) 577-4333. Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.