How to Understand a Friend with Autism?

Making friends and sharing great memories with them are some of the highlights of growing up; but for children within the spectrum, this is a delicate subject because one of their main challenges is their difficulty engaging with traditional social skills. However, if both sides make efforts there can be an everlasting friendship and common understanding.

When a neurotypical child wants to make friends with one with ASD, as parents you should explain to them what are the differences between them, and what is the correct approach. These tips can help you prepare all the family to welcome their new friend!

Let’s make new friends!

Acceptance

The first step is to accept the differences between each child. Children with ASD face their own challenges, but they also have abilities that can surprise you! An excellent way to help them connect is finding a common activity or hobby that both kids can enjoy. Remember that while we have different abilities and personalities, those make us the people we are.

Learning

After the first few encounters, you can start to learn the kid’s routine and what he or she can enjoy at your home. For example, you can ask the child’s parents what kind of food he or she likes, and try alternatives to make their food time an enjoyable activity with your children. Both families can become close while the friendship between the kids is growing. It’s vital to learn the preferences of the members of that family, as it can be useful for the future. Who knows, maybe you can plan a trip together!

Understanding

Now that you know what the new friend likes, you have to understand that sometimes he would prefer to be alone or immersed in a game or activity. TV, an external conversation or game will require focus, and it might be hard to keep their attention if they’re focused on something else. But that doesn’t mean that they’re rude, it’s just how they focus on specific tasks.

Invitations

Try always to invite and include your new friend in the activities and gatherings that you host. Kids within the spectrum want to be part of said activities but don’t know how to ask, or don’t catch the rules of the game. Try to explain to them while playing and most important go to their pace.

Never be afraid

If you are worried about how to act in front of your new friend or don’t know how to approach a situation, just ask them directly. More often than not, they’ll be more than ready to explain the reasons behind their behavior or what is affecting them. Also, you should always speak the truth; when they ask a question about participating in a game, and you think that it couldn’t be good for them, discuss it and get a mutual solution.

Communication

Some children within the spectrum understand things better with a visual explanation, others with a verbal one. While with some kids their attention span is short, and for that reason, easy and quick explanations are the best. Find the perfect way to communicate with your new friend, and don’t be afraid to make strange gestures; they will appreciate the effort.

Patience and kindness

Kindness is the way to approach a kid with ASD, and once the friendship is set, you need to be patient. It’s important because sometimes they’ll need time to catch a question, situation or scenario. Remember with children within the spectrum, patience and time are critical in maintaining a good relationship.

Behavior

Always be alert in the changes that kids within the spectrum can show in determined situations. They tend to feel uncomfortable in large crowds, with some noises, smells and even lights, for that reason staying alert for sudden changes is basic to prevent a negative response that can even be dangerous for them. He or she will only need a break to calm down and feel better, just give them space and time.

Be a counselor

Commonly, when kids with ASD feel comfortable with their friends, they can ask for help in some situations, or if you see something strange discuss it with them privately, help them to navigate the tricky world of social interactions.

Stand up for them

If you are a good person, you won’t let your friend with ASD become a target for bullies. When you see someone making fun of them take a stand for your friend and yourself, you can feel great after defending them. But If you think that the situation is turning worse, talk to an adult and let them find a solution to the situation at hand.

A friendship with a kid or teen with ASD is not that difficult when you put your heart and a great effort in it. Take these tips and start to see the benefits of having a friend within the spectrum. Come to Autism Soccer to learn and observe our programs that facilitate children becoming friends!

Autism and friends with it

We’re all the same.

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Feeling of Failure in Autism

The environment, in general, can be very hostile towards people within the autism spectrum disorder; either by sensory saturation, by incomprehension of what’s happening, by zero empathy on the part of others towards him or her. We’re talking about an environment that makes it difficult daily, and as a result, we see that those pleasant moments are scarce.

But we must not forget that the person can develop a sustained sense of failure, an aspect that often begins in childhood. When a child with problems managing his own emotions and frustration presents explosive behaviors, he receives, in many cases, a correction of inappropriate behavior. That is, in the face of frustration at not being able to do something, he gets an attitude that he perceives as correct.

Autism and failure

This feeling of failure accompanies low self-esteem. A problem that, although many believe it wakes up in adolescence, we can begin to observe it in childhood. And there’s nothing sadder than seeing 5-year-olds with low self-esteem, although it’s sadder to see that nobody notices.

This can difficult the social life of the person with autism, and generate not only anxiety, frustration, and irritability, but also a sensation of failure. This can lead the person with autism to never assume new challenges in the future; creating a depressing feeling, which must be identified and stopped as soon as possible.

Working the self-determination and independence of the person is fundamental. It’s very important that we have as one of our objectives to promote independence, always create the necessary supports, and make sure that the person understands the process so he can succeed. The emotional reinforcer, always suitable to the age and environment of the person with autism, must be present in every step of the process.

Promoting independence and self-determination will strengthen the emotional state, the person must understand that things don’t always come out the first time.

The states of anxiety in people with autism are present since childhood. Understanding this is essential to develop educational and intervention programs in autism.

A program of emotional reinforcement is indicated for these situations.

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15165 NW 77 Ave Suite 1005 Miami Lakes FL 33014

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