Some ways to support families with a child on autism spectrum
Many people are unaware on how to interact with a kid under autism spectrum disorder and needless to say, this can make their families feel uncomfortable. Here are some ways to support families with a child with autism.
Autism affects the social skills of a child. Most of the times, they find it extremely hard to mingle with others around them, especially those to whom they are not used to. That does not mean that kids under the autism spectrum must be sidelined. They must be included in all activities and should feel a part of mainstream society and activities. In order to support a family who has a child with autism, one need not be a mental health expert. All that requires is empathy and compassion.
Kani, whose son Praduyunn is under the autism spectrum says, “Most kids under the spectrum are not friendly and they might have anxiety issues. So try to understand the child and educate your own child about what autism is so that they can mingle and interact with kids who are under the spectrum. Do not show faces or get angry when the child with autism gets anxious at public place. It is important to not trouble the family and not be demanding to parents either”.
Here are some ways to support families with a child on the autism spectrum
- Offer help without being asked– Every person could use a little help amidst their busy schedules. For parents who have a kid with autism, life is often hectic and tough at times. Most of them would be open to seek help. Instead of asking for help, make sure that you do it. For example, you can offer to babysit the kid for an hour or so when the parents step out for shopping. Every little thing that you do for the family counts.
- Ask questions– This shows that you are genuinely interested to know more about autism. Most parents welcome this. So if you want to know what being under the spectrum is, do not hesitate to ask parents about it. At times when people are judging the family, parents would be happy to find someone who is genuinely interested to know about autism. For example, ask them what they do to calm down the child, what skills the child have and so on.
- Use kind, socially accepted challenge– When you give respect, you earn it back. Treat other people the way you want to be treated. Do not use terms that are discriminatory. Speaking in a loving, kind and supportive way will only make you a better person. Choose your words wisely.
- Do not judge– Even today, unfortunately, most people are not aware about autism. That is one reason why families undergo a lot of stress trying to educate people on what the autism spectrum is all about. It is quite disheartening that parents have to go through this considering the pressure they already have. Though most people know that it is not right to judge someone, sometimes it can happen. Once it happens, it is hard to reverse the damage. If you find a child under the spectrum with anxiety or behavioral issues at a shop or even restaurant, understand what they might be going through.
Joyashree Chakraborty, whose 11-year-old son Shreyan is under the spectrum highlights on importance of being supportive. “It is not easy for a child with autism to mingle with others. So acceptance is important. Create awareness amongst your own children. Include kids with autism in all activities and all this must start from a school level. It is best to catch them young”, she says.
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