Tips for talking to someone with Autism

The other day, I was in a local store and was introduced to a young man who was working there. I noticed his lack of eye contact, repetitive motions and social awkwardness. Immediately, I switched to what I call “autism mode.”  You see, you can’t approach a person on the spectrum in the same manner as your local friendly, bank teller. You have to ease in but be direct and to the point. Once I changed my approach and followed these simple tips, we had a lovely conversation.

Here are a few tips to help when talking to someone with Autism:

  1. When asking questions, make sure they are clear and direct using easy to understand language and or pictures – they may not be able to understand the meaning of your questions or body language
  2. Avoid words with double meaning and humor because they might take what you say literally
  3. Understand a lack of eye contact, unusual body language, and talking at inappropriate times are social difficulties you may face
  4. Give enough time for questions or requests to be understood and wait for a response if it is not immediate
  5. Keep the environment as calm as possible to alleviate stress – some are sensitive to light, movement, sound, smell and touch
  6. Repetitive behaviors are a coping mechanism, so respect it
  7. Ask a parent, caregiver or advocate what support they need

XO,

Stacey

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