One in 66 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Unfortunately, many of these people will face additional challenges in their daily lives. This can include difficulty communicating and interacting with others, as well as understanding social cues. In this article, we’ll examine the treatment options for people with ASD and how agoraphobia may affect them when they leave home or go to a new place. A child psychiatrist is a medical specialist who is capable of diagnosing and treating autism, ASD, ADHD and mental disorders.
Do not say “What is wrong with you?”
The way you speak to people with autism spectrum disorder will affect the way they interact with you. If you say things that hurt or upset someone on the spectrum, they are more likely to avoid you in future interactions. When speaking to an individual with ASD, do not ask:
- “What is wrong with you?”
- “You should be more like me”
- “You are different from me”
- “You are not like me”
- “You’re not normal” (or any other similar term)
In addition, avoid making generalizations about ASD individuals’ behaviors and characteristics; it’s unkind and impolitic. For example, don’t say:
Do not assume that people on the spectrum are not listening.
- Do not assume that people on the spectrum are not listening.
Autistic people may not look at you when you talk to them, or they may respond in a way that seems like they did not hear what you said. This does not mean they aren’t listening—they could be trying to understand what it is that you want from them and how to respond appropriately. Try asking questions instead of making statements; if someone doesn’t respond, don’t take it personally, just try again later! If there’s something specific that needs doing then ask clearly what exactly needs doing so there’s no confusion about expectations (and then praise them when they do as requested).
- Don’t expect too much out of autistic people at once and give breaks when needed because these can help prevent meltdowns or anxiety attacks which will make everything harder for everyone involved!
Stop assuming that everyone is the same.
As you start to get to know people with ASD, you’ll notice that they are all very different. People with ASD have many different needs and abilities (and not everyone will be able to tell you what those needs and abilities are). Some people may require constant supervision, while others may be able to speak for themselves; some may have an extreme interest in a specific topic, while others will have no interest at all.
It is important to keep this in mind when working with or interacting with someone who has been diagnosed with ASD—they may need more time than other people do to process information, or their attention span might be shorter than yours.
Be open about your beliefs about autism.
- Be open about your beliefs about autism.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about your beliefs
- Don’t be afraid to share your feelings
- Don’t be afraid to tell people you are wrong
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
- Don’t be afraid to say sorry
Don’t assume that everything that happens to us is because of our autism.
- Don’t assume that everything that happens to us is because of our autism.
- Don’t assume that we are intellectually disabled just because we have autism.
- Don’t assume that we can’t speak for ourselves and take the lead in conversations with us, even if other people think this would be easier for them (e.g., parents or teachers).
- When talking about or discussing autism with people who have ASD, don’t say anything which might offend a parent – it’s not their fault!
Don’t assume we are intellectually disabled just because we have autism.
- Don’t assume we are intellectually disabled.
- People with autism spectrum disorder are not all mentally impaired, and many of us have high IQs and learning abilities. Some people with ASD may have cognitive disabilities (learning disorders), but these are not universal to the condition, nor do they affect all people with ASD.
- If you encounter someone who has autism spectrum disorder and behaves in an unintelligent manner, it’s possible that their condition doesn’t manifest itself externally or that they have a learning disability unrelated to their ASD. You should never make assumptions about anyone’s intelligence based on outward appearances or behaviors alone; this is especially true when dealing with those on the autistic spectrum because there are so many individual variations between individuals diagnosed with ASDs – even if they share common symptoms!
Do not lay guilt trips on us.
Do not lay guilt trips on us.
Because we have autism, you may assume that we are responsible for our condition and should be able to control it. You may also think that because you don’t have autism, your experiences can’t possibly compare to those of someone with ASD. Both assumptions are incorrect: We did not choose to get ASD; it was something we were diagnosed with at a very young age. Our ASD is something that many others experience differently than we do—because their symptoms vary from person to person (and even within a single individual), there are no commonalities between all people with ASD.
For example, if one person with ADHD has trouble sitting still and another does not, it doesn’t mean that the first person doesn’t have ADHD or isn’t struggling as much as his peers; instead, each individual will experience difficulties in different ways based on other factors like genetics and brain chemistry. Just because there aren’t any universal signs of autism doesn’t mean they aren’t there—and just because they aren’t immediately apparent doesn’t mean they don’t matter either!
Do not assume we can speak for everyone on the spectrum.
There are many different forms of autism, and all the symptoms and their severity vary. As a result, each person with ASD will have their own unique experiences and needs. The best way to understand what is helpful for them is by listening to them directly—don’t take one person’s experience as representative of everyone else on the spectrum!
As you might imagine, this can be difficult if you’re not familiar with autism in general. If you find yourself wondering about someone else’s diagnosis or treatment plan (or just want some more information), do not hesitate to ask questions! However, try not to make assumptions based on your knowledge of other people with ASD; instead focus on getting your facts straight from those who know best: Your friend or loved one themselves.
Don’t invalidate our experiences simply because you do not understand them.
- Don’t invalidate our experiences simply because you do not understand them.
- Don’t tell us that we are overreacting, that it’s no big deal, or that we’re wrong for how we feel.
- Do not tell us what words to use and when to use them. For example: “He might be autistic,” “You sound autistic,” and “You look like an alien” are all examples of microaggressions against people with autism spectrum disorder; they should never be used about someone with ASD unless they have specifically asked for these terms as part of their self-identification (if they even choose to identify at all).
- Do not dismiss or minimize the severity of interactions that have caused harm to others or yourself because others find them humorous—this includes jokes made at your expense by other people who have ASD as well as those who do not but still think something offensive is funny if it involves someone else’s discomfort or pain (e.g., laughing while watching someone struggle with anxiety attacks).
The parents may be feeling very emotional about their child’s diagnosis.
The parents of a child with autism spectrum disorder may be feeling very emotional about their child’s diagnosis. While you may have to be patient with the parents, you must respect their wishes if they tell you about their diagnosis in confidence. They may not want to share the news with everyone right away, or maybe never. You can help the family by being supportive and encouraging them as they learn more about ASD and find resources for treatment and support.
They may also be in denial.
You may also have difficulty treating people with autism spectrum disorder because they deny the diagnosis. This is not uncommon, as many parents don’t want their child to be labeled as having a disability. If you suspect that a family member or friend has been diagnosed but is in denial about it, you should proceed with caution when trying to help them out of their denial.
If you’re dealing with someone who’s in denial about ASD, here are some steps that might help:
- Validate how hard this is for them and give them space to process what they’re going through before jumping into solutions or advice. You could also try asking questions like “How do you think we can make things better?” or “What do you need from me right now?”
- Be specific when giving instructions or advice so they aren’t accused of being demanding (e.g., say “I’d like us all to sit down together at dinner today” instead of “We should eat dinner together.”)
Don’t say anything that might offend the parents and make them angry at you
Even if you have a strong belief in one of these viewpoints, it’s best to refrain from making any comments on the matter. It’s difficult for even medical professionals to determine what causes it and how best to treat it—therefore, you should leave medical opinions out of conversations with parents as much as possible.
There are also some things that you should never say no matter which viewpoint you take:
- Do not assume that this condition was caused by anything other than chance or genetic factors (i.e., don’t blame the parents). This can make them feel guilty or ashamed about having a child with ASD and may lead them to resentful feelings toward the medical community—not exactly something that will help anyone have a pleasant conversation!
A family may not want to share their diagnosis with everyone.
It is the family’s choice to share or not, and it can be a very difficult decision. The diagnosis may come as a big shock to the family, especially if your child has just been diagnosed with ASD. They may be in denial about it or feeling very emotional about their child’s diagnosis. Your family may want to keep things private for now because they feel ashamed of their child’s condition or worried about what others might think of them if they knew he/she had autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Respect their wishes if they tell you about their diagnosis in confidence.
If people with autism spectrum disorder tell you about their diagnosis, it is important to respect their wishes if they ask that the information be kept confidential. Do not disclose this information to anyone else, including family members and friends. Similarly, do not share this information with anyone who does not need to know—this includes acquaintances and coworkers as well as other healthcare professionals.
People with ASD are different.
They have different needs, interests, and ways of thinking. They may not be able to communicate their feelings or understand other people’s feelings in the same way as you might think they would.
The second thing is that everyone has unique abilities and weaknesses, so don’t expect a person on the spectrum to be great at everything or even anything at all! The key is finding out what they’re good at and helping them build upon those skills so they can become more independent and confident in themselves which will improve their quality of life overall.”
Be careful in your choice of words.
It’s important to be careful with your choice of words.
Some words to avoid:
- “creepy” – This can be offensive because it implies that people on the autism spectrum are inherently creepy, when this may not be true at all! Be aware of how your language might affect others’ perceptions of them.
- “obsessed” – This is judgmental and accusatory; it implies that people with ASD are obsessed with something rather than simply interested in it or find comfort in focusing on their particular interests for extended periods during social interactions. It also makes people feel as though they’re doing something wrong by being interested in one thing over another. Instead, try asking questions about why they’re so interested in something so much (e.g., “I’m really curious about what makes you so into Pokémon!”). Then listen carefully for answers—they’ll probably say something interesting!
The key to treating people with autism spectrum disorder is empathy. If you are a doctor, psychiatrist, parent, teacher, or friend to someone with ASD—or even just a citizen of our planet who has been struck by the news of this epidemic—you should learn about and empathize with these people.
A person who has trouble talking about how they feel may be unable to ask for help when they experience pain or discomfort because they don’t know how else to get it taken care of except by trying harder at something until their body gives out on them…which can lead quickly enough toward death if no one gets involved soon enough!
Remember, we are all human—autistic or not. We have feelings and emotions, and we want to be treated with respect. If you are in a situation where someone with ASD is acting out, try to understand why they might be acting that way before you react negatively. It’s important to remember that everyone deserves respect, even if they have a different way of communicating and interacting than the rest of us do!