Did you just find out your child is autistic?
Here are 10 tips for anyone who is new to understanding autism and autistic people. Please note that these are general guidelines. Every autistic person is different and can have different sensory and/or communication needs.
1. Autistic people are human beings.
2. We are not “lost in our own world.”
3. We may develop differently, and that is okay.
4. Autistic people have empathy (and yes, feel love).
- Not showing affection in the same way, doesn’t mean autistic people don’t care about their family.
5. Many of us have alexithymia – It can be hard to recognize and label our emotions (even pain).
6. A lot of us have sensory sensitivities which can be painful (and you may not know it yet!)
- Sensory overload and pain in general, can be a reason that we self-injure.
- Things to try: Ear defenders, headphones, sunglasses, earplugs, hats, hoodies, tinted glasses.
- Some of us have hypo-sensitivities.
- If needing pressure or physical feedback: Punching bag, weighted blanket, blanket cocoon.
7. Hygiene tasks and eating can be hard for sensory-related reasons.
8. Alternative communication is helpful, not harmful, for nonspeaking autistic kids or kids developing speech.
9. “Severe autism” is autistic people who have other co-occurring conditions. It’s not “severe.”
10. Autism is often genetic – It is likely that you, your spouse, or a family member is also autistic.