World Autism Awareness Day: 5 Helpful Ways to Talk to People with ASD
April 2nd Event Puts Spotlight on Complexities of This Disorder
About 1 in 54 children in the United States has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While the condition has become more prevalent, it remains one of the most misunderstood diagnoses up to this day. On World Autism Awareness Day this April 2nd, the focus will once again be on the complexities and uniqueness of the disorder.
The event brings medical experts and all concerned people in the community to work hand-in-hand in the pursuit of educating the public about autism. At the same time, it encourages us to do our own research so that we can become more mindful of those living with the condition. That way, we’ll know how to interact with them without unintentionally hurting their feelings.
How to Tell If Someone Has Autism Spectrum Disorder
Since World Autism Awareness Day is intended to promote understanding of ASD, one of the best ways to spend it is by learning the basics, starting with its tell-tale signs. Although autism can be diagnosed at any age, its symptoms generally appear during the first 2 years of life. In other words, you’ll be able to spot them when the baby is between 12 to 24 months old.
There are 3 main indicators of autism: difficulty interacting with others, restricted interests and repetitive behaviors, and self-injurious behaviors. The list below reveals examples of the types of behaviors often found in autistic individuals.
Communication or interaction problems may include:
- Finding it hard to express emotions and understand common social cues;
- Maintaining poor eye contact most of the time;
- Having trouble with the back and forth of a conversation;
- Seldom looking at or listening to others;
- Unable to (or being slow to) respond to someone calling their name or giving cues to get their attention;
- Having an unusual tone of voice that may sound flat or robot-like;
- Often talking about a topic without giving others a chance to respond or noticing that no one is interested.
Restrictive or repetitive behaviors may include:
- Repeating words or phrases, otherwise known as echolalia;
- Getting upset by slight changes in a routine;
- Being more or less sensitive to sensory input, such as noise, light, or temperature;
- Having a lasting extreme interest in certain subjects such as details or numbers.
Although not as common as the other two, self-injurious behaviors may occur in kids and adults on the autism spectrum. These include head banging, arm/hand biting, punching or hitting oneself, excessive skin rubbing or scratching, swallowing hazardous objects and substances, and picking at sores or skins.
How to Talk to Adults with ASD
If you know anyone on the autism spectrum, communicating clearly with them can get a bit challenging at times. According to experts in the field, here’s how you can keep the conversation at a smooth flow:
- Say what you really mean.
Be as clear, literal, and concise as possible. Speaking in sarcasm, metaphors, or slang may most likely confuse them.
- Address them as you would any other adult.
Don’t assume right away that the person has limited cognitive skills. Just because they may be slow to respond doesn’t mean that they’re unable to understand what you’re saying.
- Be an active listener.
Take time to listen to let them know that you genuinely care and are interested to learn more about what they’re sharing. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if you weren’t able to catch what they were saying.
- Don’t use words or phrases that are too personal or familiar.
Unless you’re talking to a family member or close friend, avoid using terms of endearment like “sweetie” or “honey.” They can come across as disrespectful or demeaning, especially to someone who’s trying to establish their independence.
- Wait for a response.
If you’re asking a question and the person doesn’t answer immediately, do not automatically assume that they can’t understand or haven’t heard you. Just like us, they may need more time to absorb and process information before they can respond.
Your Disadvantaged Neighbors Need Your Support
On World Autism Awareness Day this April 2nd, you can do something that will help not only autistic individuals but also others who are likewise struggling in life. They include the men and women in your community who are burdened with disabilities, lack of essential skills or education, and other barriers that prevent them from living above the poverty line. The simplest thing you can do to help these folks is to donate your unwanted vehicle to us at Goodwill Car Donations.
We will sell your donated vehicle and turn over the proceeds to the local Goodwill organization serving your area. Located in various parts of the country, Goodwill organizations are IRS-certified 501(c)(3) nonprofits that are dedicated to turning disadvantaged individuals into productive and self-reliant members of society.
Through the funds collected from the sale of donated vehicles, they’re able to provide their beneficiaries with job and skills training, career opportunities, internships, vocational and educational services, disability benefits, and other critical community-building support services.
In exchange for your contribution, we’ll mail to you the 100% tax-deductible sales receipt of your vehicle days after its sale. This receipt will entitle you to claim the maximum tax deduction in the next tax season.
You can also count on us to haul your vehicle away at a date, time, and place of your choice, and you don’t have to shell out even a dime for this. We offer free towing in all parts of America.
More importantly, donating to Goodwill Car Donations will bring you immense joy and satisfaction, knowing that you’ll be helping your community grow and prosper by empowering impoverished members through the power of work and learning.
We take nearly all types of vehicles, even those that have scratches and dents or malfunctioning or missing parts. Learn more about this here.
Make Your Community a Better Place Today!
Are you ready to give up your beater for the benefit of your disadvantaged neighbors and your community as a whole? If you’re ready, go ahead and call Goodwill Car Donations at 866-233-8586 or fill out our online donation form now!