Remember that person with Autism spectrum disorder are to be respected and recognised. We can do better at understanding and being there for them.
Today, April 2, is World Autism Day – a day to help increase the awareness about Autism, a complex, lifelong developmental disability that can impact a person’s social skills, communication and self-regulation. Landmarks and buildings are lit blue in recognition of people with autism and those who love and support them and to help understand and accept people with autism, foster support and inspire a more inclusive world.
Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviours and is a “spectrum condition” that affects people differently and to varying degrees. It can either be non-verbal or atypical speech pattern or repetitive and either extreme or no sensitivity to stimuli.
According to the National Autism Spectrum Disorder Surveillance System 1 in 66 Canadian children and youth (ages 5-17) are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, approximately 1 – 2% of the Canadian population is on the autism spectrum. “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has a significant and life-long impact on people living with the condition and their families.
Here are some tips on how you can use your awareness to help someone with autism.
- Respect the person and treat them their age.
- Do not make them feel like you are looking down on them or undermining their abilities.
- Be clear in your communication.
- Listen to them – give enough time to hear them out.
- When you ask something, do not assume their response.
- Do not negate their presence.
- Watch closely and look for nonverbal cues through which they could be trying to communicate.