Autism is a mental condition, present from early childhood, and is characterized by great difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts. A person with Autism has to dealt with carefully.
The point to note here is that Autism is not a disease, it is just a mental condition. People with this mental condition are not ill; they are just different from what we have learnt to associate “NORMAL” to. A young person with Autism already struggles to cope with the normal world, the last thing that (s)he needs is our criticism.
People with Autism have turned out to be exceptional in the past and there is no reason anyone with Autism, whom you know, will fare any lesser.
However, it is important for us to respect and understand Autistic people so as to make our communities more enriching and inclusive for everyone.
- Every person with Autism is Unique: Not every person with Autism displays the same features. Like us, the so-called normal men and women, Autistic people have different skills, abilities and shortcomings. Love and acceptance from the family, friends and society is the best way to help the Autistic people to grow and thrive.
- People with Autism feel the world differently: There may be some noises, smells, tastes or lights, which people with Autism may find physically painful. At the same time, they may experience details that others may miss.
- They want friends like everybody: People with autism might not be very social. They may not speak or communicate just through words; however, it might be possible that they may be adept in communicating with non-verbal ways. We need to be sensitive while interacting with the people with Autism and need to understand and communicate with them, in a way that they understand.
- World might feel strange and scary to them: Because they are different, the general practices of the world might confuse or scare the people with Autism. Hence, they tend to develop routines which make them feel safe and help them to cope. That doesn’t mean they don’t want to experience new things. We need to encourage them, support them in experiencing new activities like sports, and help build confidence in them.
- We should focus on what they can and not what they can’t: The people with Autism might find it difficult to do some things which are very easy for us. But, that doesn’t mean they are dump and stupid. They might be exceptionally good in things that we can’t even imagine.