If your child is meeting a new friend that is autistic, you might be wondering how to best explain what that means. Explaining in a positive way that they understand can help them to be more caring and accepting. My World ABA gives some tips on how to explain autism to young children.
Autism Can Be Difficult to Grasp
Autism is something that can be difficult for adults to understand, so it only makes sense that children may struggle to grasp it as well. One issue is that autism affects each person differently, so there are no set symptoms. And people who are autistic can fall into many different places on the spectrum. There are often no outward physical symptoms. So, to a child, a young friend who is autistic might look just like anyone else.
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Foster Kindness and Acceptance
The most important approach when explaining autism to your child is to encourage acceptance and inclusivity. Explain that everyone is different, and a child who is autistic is not sick and does not need to be “fixed.” They are who they are, and everyone has their differences. Rather than exclude people who are different, we need to celebrate the differences in one another.
Tips For Explaining Autism
If your child is meeting a friend who is autistic for the first time, there are some tips to help them better understand how to interact and why the child may have a certain behavior.
Use age-appropriate language.
Don’t try to overcomplicate it or use fancy medical terms. Explain in words the child will understand. Explain that this person has autism and they were born with it. It is not a disease, and it is not contagious. You can’t catch anything from them, and they are not sick. They were simply born this way, but that makes them unique.
Teach them to be accepting.
Explain that they may notice a child who is autistic may have different behaviors or reactions to situations. They may not like playing a certain way or might not like loud noises, and that’s okay. Encourage your child to be accepting and understanding. Tell them it’s okay if they don’t always understand a certain behavior, but they must always be kind.
Use age-appropriate resources.
Find children’s books about autism that can help your child relate and develop a better understanding. Reading a book together allows them to see it as normal and to ask questions. There are also many popular shows that have introduced autistic characters, like Sesame Street, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Arthur, Pablo, and Hero Elementary.
ABA Therapy in Springfield, MO
If you are looking for ABA treatment in Springfield, MO, My World ABA can help. We support your child by creating an inclusive environment where they can play, build friendships, and be themselves.
To learn more about our services or answer additional questions, visit our website or call (417) 818-5784 today.