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Five things you need to know about autism!

1. Every autistic individual has strengths. Look for them first. Harness them and build on them wherever you can.

2. Those with autism are very sensitive to how others around them are feeling. Be mindful of how you react – putting yourself in a calm, relaxed state is a wonderful starting point to effective communication and can help you to more easily deal with challenging situations when they arise.

3. Autistic people tend to be highly visual – they think and learn in pictures rather than words. Show rather than ‘tell’, if possible.

4. Eye contact can be extremely difficult, even confronting. Often, an autistic person can focus much better on what you are saying if they don’t have to look at your eyes.

5.There is a difference between a tantrum and an autistic meltdown. A tantrum is deliberate, when a child does not get something they want. A meltdown comes from an instinctual place, due to being overwhelmed – there is nothing deliberate about a meltdown. Where you deal with a tantrum through discipline, when someone is having a meltdown, they need to be protected and supported. Read more about the difference between tantrums and meltdowns here.

Remember, an autistic person is a person. They may have a different abilities and unique challenges, but they deserve to be accepted for who they are, as every person deserves to be accepted for who they are. ​Their neurodiversity is something to be embraced and honoured, while their challenges are supported with dignity and respect.
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