Autism is a behavioral and social disorder that many children suffer from. Even if your own kids do not have this disorder, they may encounter peers at their school or on the playground with autism. Instead of your child being afraid or picking on autistic children, it is wise to explain this condition to them and answer any questions that they may have. Read the rest of this article to learn how to explain autism to your son or daughter.
Sit them down during a quiet time of the day when they are least distracted. When you explain autism to your child, don’t mention or discuss a particular kid with autism unless you are their parent or have checked with the child’s parents first and have gotten their okay. A parent with an autistic child has the right to know and even limit how much info is being given out about their child.
If you are a teacher or the friend of a person with an autistic child, try contacting them. They can be a good source of reliable information to give to your own son or daughter.
Be open to questions from your children and avoid using labels in discussion as they are perceived as limiting. A child is not an autistic child; they are first and foremost a child with autism. Their disorder is secondary to who they are as an individual. Therefore, make sure you answer questions about particular behaviors or things and don’t use labels, especially when you are talking with younger children. As kids age, they will have a better understanding of what autism is and know what words and phrases to use properly when discussing it.
Don’t make the situation about autism negative. When you answer questions, be sure to highlight how special and unique every person is. For example, if your child wants to know why another student turned down their request to play during recess, let them know that some kids are just shy and need more time to warm up to others. Also tell them that some folks just like to spend a little more time alone than in the company of others. Encourage them to practice both tolerance and patience.
If you can, you should also set up a play date with a child with autism. You can use an airwalker swing, which is a great product to buy for autistic children. Ask their parents if the children can play together and be sure to monitor the playtime at all times in case the autistic child needs a break and some alone time.
Your child should learn about autism so they do not become scared or make fun of children with autism. Education is the first step to awareness and tolerance of people who are different from us. When you teach your children about different disorders, they will accept it more and not be afraid. Be patient when answering questions and make sure not to use labels at all.