Hi there, I’m JEM from the blog WritingbyJEM. I wrote this guest post for Becky highlighting some top tips for interacting with an austitic person. Being Austitic myself often has its problems, but genrally I’m just like everyone else. I wanted to write this post so if anyone needs advice on intractiving with their austistic friend, sibling, or maybe even a co-worker, then this may be useful to you. Please bear in mind that this is purely an objective opinion from one autistic person and may not apply to all.
1) Talking to them like any other person. They will appreciate it beyond measures. Some autistic people will prefer this as it means that they are the same as everyone else in your eyes.
2) Talk to them about their interests. And what they are passionate about. This shows that you not only are treating them like a person but are treating them as something important and not just something to be ignored.
3) Understand that they need time alone. Some times a person with autism has had a limit with interctiving with others and having that alone time allows their heads to process al the information they have received.
4) Understand that peace and quiet is sometimes essential. Too much stimulus and information is stressful for a person with autism and stopping the noises allows them to process the rest of everything else. So spending time reading or doing a quiet activity is fine.
5) Socialise with them. Spend time with them, include them in social events. Some Autistic people do enjoy going out and socialising, they may not be able to do it for long periods of time, but they still enjoy the time they do spend.
6) Ask them about their autism. Every autistic person is different and has different limits to it. Asking someone about their autism so you can understand and try and help them at times is in my opinion one of the nicest things you can do as it make them feel as though they are being understood.
7) Understand that they might not do well in social situations and that they may need help or an escape.
8) Explain things in a different way if they don’t understand. Everyone learns differently and with autism it may be frustrating to not understand what is going on. Try another method of teaching to help us.
9) Understand that we will get angry and frustrated at times and sometimes speaking logically but firmly is the best thing to do in that situation.
10) Be friends with them. They can be one of the nicest people and can sometimes be the most loyal friend you will have as some autistic people will cherish their friendships to the fullest.
1) Assume that they aren’t intelligent. Assuming that they won’t understand you is annoying as most of the time we can understand what you are saying.
2) Assume that they must be super smart. This is not true for all people with autism, we have knowledge about the things we are passionate about and this usually means that you are generalising us rather than trying to understand us.
3) Make fun of them for how passionate they are about their interest. Doing this to anyone can generally be upsetting but doing this to some with autism is horrible because sometimes that person’s life can revolve around that one passion.
4) Complain when they want to be left alone. Everyone occasionally needs time to be alone, if we are asking you to be left alone, you shouldn’t complain as it is completely normal. We need time to mentally recharge ourselves and deal with everything, please try to understand and wait for us to come back and talk to you.
5) Ignore them when doing invites to a social event. This is beyond annoying, as I stated above, some autistic people enjoy socialising so ignoring us when you are planning to go out as a group is horrible and make us feel like you don’t want to be friends with us.
6) Ask questions about autism to their relative rather than them.
7) Research Autism and assume that everything you read relates to that person, Autism is different for everyone and is on a spectrum meaning that not everything is the same for each person.
8) Apologise to them about having autism. AKA “Oh I’m sorry to hear that you have autism” There is no need for this. It isn’t a bad thing and its okay that we have it. It just means that we are a bit different like everyone else in the world. When you are apologising to us about this it sounds like you think that it is an affliction that we must fight against, like a broken bone or cancer.
9) State that it was because we were vaccinated or that there will soon be a cure for it. Firstly if you still think autism is cause by vaccine then you really need to research things properly because I am incredible sure that it was disproved years ago and secondly if you think we need a cure, why? As I stated it isn’t a bad thing. Our minds just work differently, so therefore there is no need for a cure or for anyone to be cured. It is not a disease.
10) Treat us any differently then you did before you knew we were autistic. I can personally say that I, as an autistic person, have had this happen to me. We do notice that you are treating us different and for us it makes no sense as to why. We are still the same person we were before you knew that we had autism and telling you don’t change that, so there is no reason to change your behaviour towards us. The only exception to this, is if we have asked you to change, otherwise, Don’t.
Again this is can be different for each person and genrally the best advice I can give you is to talk to them about what they need, and ways you can help them. Otherwise just be yourself around them and let them be theirselves.