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11 Ways You Can Help Be a Good Friend to Children on the Autism Spectrum
Being A Good Friend Includes Acceptance
All people want to feel included and have friendships. For children with autism, Asperger’s or “on the autism spectrum”… sometimes it is more difficult to make friends. Here are some ideas to help you begin, build and keep a friendship with a kid on the autism spectrum.
- Accept your friend’s differences and respect strengths the way that you would with any friend. We all have abilities and special traits that make us different.
- Learn about your friend’s interests to find out what you have in common. Hang outand see what he or she likes to talk about or do. It is easier to get to know someone when you share an activity, video game, a book or TV show you both like.
- Understand that sometimes your friend may want to play alone or may be so focused on a specific game or topic, it might be difficult to get and keep his or her attention.
- Invite and include your friend to join you and other friends in games and activities. – Your friend may want to be included but may not know how to ask or may not understand the rules.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. We all have things that we dislike or that are hard for us to do. A good friend offers understanding, help and encouragement for things that are difficult.
- Talk clearly and use hand gestures, facial expressions and pictures to help you communicate. With some friends, you may need to use shorter sentences, use pictures or write down what you say to help your friend understand.
- Be Patient and Kind if your friend does not respond right away if you ask a question. Sometimes your friend might not understand what you mean, and you need to ask in a different way. Sometimes your friend needs extra thinking time to share his or her thoughts with you.
- Look for Sensory Sensitivity – Your friend with autism may sometimes feel overwhelmed by crowds, noise, smells, bright lights and busy activities. If you notice your friend acting differently, he or she might need a break away from activity. These breaks may help your friend feel calmer.
- Provide helpful feedback – Sometimes your friend may seem awkward and not understand the right thing to do in social situations. Give advice privately without trying to embarrass your friend.
- Take A Stand – If you see someone teasing, making fun of or bullying someone with autism, let them know that is not cool or kind. Tell a trusted adult if someone is being hurt.
- Be An Ambassador for Acceptance of All Abilities – A friend with autism is a person like you with hopes and dreams, likes and dislikes. Be compassionate and model good friendship.
Via : autismempowerment