What is autism? Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. We now know that there is not just one type of autism but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences.
Below are some tips to help you recognize and help someone you may encounter with autism.
Autism affects an individuals’:
Communication- Speaking, expression(s), understanding someone, the person may have trouble making eye contact/gestures.
Social Skills- An individual with autism may have trouble interacting with you or responding to your instructions or cues.
Behavior- An individual with autism may resist change, focus on special interests, repeat words, noises or movements.
Sensory Sensitivity- Handling sensations like sounds, lights, smells, and touch may be difficult for a person with autism.
An individual with autism may shut down or escalate when stressed.
How can you help an autistic person?
Use calming techniques to help the individual keep their cool.
Use a calm voice
Avoid physical contact, if possible, to reduce flight or fight response.
Reduce input like noise and lights to calm the individuals’ senses.
Allow the individual to calm there self with movement like rocking or flapping.
Be clear. Use simple words. Give one instruction at a time.
Wait. Be patient. An individual with autism may need to think and respond.
Call someone who knows the individual and ask them to help.
Some individuals with autism carry around cards that identify them as autistic. They may also have a barcode (that can be scanned with any smart phone) sewed onto their clothing or on the shoe laces. Look for these items on the individual or ask if they have any of these identifiers.
If you are interested in situation cards to hand out while on duty contact CIT Coordinator, Brandy James, email@example.com