Here is a list of tips I came up with to explain Jonny’s idiosyncrasies to people when he was younger
WHAT AUTISM IS: Jonny has a neurological condition called autism where he thinks differently than other kids
HOW DOES HE THINK DIFFERENT?
• SOCIAL SKILLS: His ability to relate to people and say the appropriate things is a challenge. Sometimes people might think he’s not paying attention like he’s in another world or could care less even though he does. He just may not show it.
• COMMUNICATION: He talks, reads and writes just fine though the way some of his thoughts come through may be different and sound odd to regular people at times.
• SENSORY: He may get too close, or feel uncomfortable in a crowd of people. The “proper” social distance we intuitively know is hard for him to perceive. He also may lack eye contact. Also, the type of clothing he wears may affect his moods. Be sensitive to this.
HOW TO DEAL WITH HIM
• FACILITATE FRIENDSHIPS: Since its more difficult for him to seek out friendships, facilitate relationships by introducing him to potential friends and helping them establish something in common to talk about.
• TRANSITION: When its time to change an activity, sometimes Jonny stays stuck on what he’s doing. Give him warnings that he “will” be changing what he’s doing so his mind has time to change. Maybe say 5 minutes left in this, 3 minutes and so on.
• BEHAVIOR MELTDOWN: If he has a temper tantrum, talk calmly to him and ask him what the problem is. Always get BOTH sides of the story as it could simply be a result of a misunderstanding.
• DOESN’T WANT TO PARTICIPATE: First, encourage him to participate anyway. You may have to do some serious convincing. If he absolutely refuses and it’s going to cause a scene, either provide an alternative activity or send him back to his cabin. Be creative.
What helpful tips could you add to this list?