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Autism Awareness Month: Support for Individuals with Autism

April is Autism Awareness Month, also known as Autism Acceptance Month. At RISE Services, Inc. Idaho, we’d like to celebrate and honor individuals living with autism and their families or caregivers. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that affects how people communicate, interact, behave, and learn. Some individuals have more significant challenges than others in navigating daily life, whereas others are completely capable and have little to no support. Many people are unsure of how to support children and adults living with autism. We’d like to share a few tips you may find helpful.

Autism Awareness Month: Support for Individuals with Autism

Educate Yourself

It can be challenging to support someone living with autism if you don’t know what autism is. There are several resources on the internet and probably in your local community that can help. Autism occurs on a spectrum, so it looks different for each individual. While there are many common symptoms and challenges, it’s best not to assume that the child or adult you’re supporting is affected like someone else. If you’re working with an adult, ask if they’re comfortable sharing their experience. Remember to be respectful and compassionate in your conversations.

Communicate Effectively

Because individuals with ASD think about and see things differently, communication can often be puzzling. If communicating with each other is difficult, you and the person you’re speaking with can become easily overwhelmed. Some individuals have no problem with verbal speech, whereas others may be entirely nonverbal. Begin by finding out how the individual you are supporting communicates best. If it’s not apparent, ask their caregiver or parent. Taking the time to learn how to communicate with an individual is an exceptional way to show your support.

Exercise Patience

Spending time with someone living with autism can come with obstacles. Compassion, understanding, and patience are crucial to encouraging individuals with ASD. People with autism can find it difficult to express themselves and be open with people they don’t know well, so it’s important to remember that both of you may get frustrated at times. Connecting with a child or adult living with autism may be a challenge at first, but with time and patience, you can become a crucial part of their support system. 

Ask Someone

If you’re unsure of how to support someone living with ASD, ask them or their caregivers what they need. Each individual and family is unique, so their wishes and desires will be, too. For example, some children with autism prefer structured schedules and environments over spontaneity and surprise plans. You may want to ask other questions, such as “Do you prefer particular foods? Does your child like playing certain games? Is there a time of day that’s best for me to come over and help?” Be sure to ask the family what they need — an evening out, help with housework, grocery pick-up, or a simple conversation over coffee.

How RISE Supports Individuals & Their Families

However you support individuals with autism and their families, we applaud you for taking the time to learn more about ASD and how you can make a difference. RISE Services, Inc. Idaho supports individuals living with autism and other developmental disabilities with ABA therapy, habilitation intervention, developmental therapy, counseling, career services, and more. Contact us today to learn how we can support you or your loved one living with ASD.

Source: “How to Support a Loved One Who Has Autism.” Blog article. Care, Inc. 05 Apr. 2023. Web. 17 Apr. 2024