Being a Friend
An article about ways to be a good friend to an autistic child.
Everyone does better with love and support from families and friends. Share these ideas with the children in your family’s life to help build understanding:
- Include them. Autistic children may want to play but may not know how to ask. Tell them exactly what they can do to join the fun, and give them what they need (like “You can stack these blocks with us. Here is a block.”). Try to find something you both like (like horses or a certain television show).
- Keep trying. It may take time, and a few different tries on different days, to get to know your new friend. That’s okay. If they says no or needs space, you can stop trying that day.
- People have ways besides talking to tell us what they know and want. Autistic children might put your hand on an object for help, repeat what you say, or use sounds or pictures to let you know what they want.
- When you see your friend hand flapping, rocking, or repeating noises, they might be trying to calm down.
- Be patient. Just because your friend is quiet or looking away doesn’t mean they aren’t listening or getting what you say. They may need more time to respond. It’s okay to repeat yourself or wait a bit.
- Tell a grown-up if you see someone being unkind to your friend.
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