7 Tips for Getting Along Better With Autistic People

7 Tips for Getting Along Better With Autistic People


Those who do not know about autism may have difficulties understanding certain behaviors. Even family and friends who know the individual may be surprised by their attitudes, despite their daily coexistence.

For starters, let’s talk about the characteristics of autism to deepen your knowledge about this condition. That way, you will have a better basis for understanding the behavior of the person you live with.

However, it is worth mentioning that, in addition to seeking information, it is necessary to exercise patience and understanding to have a good coexistence.

What is Autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological condition that affects personal, social, academic, and/or professional functioning. It is noticed early in childhood, with school-age being the most age group in which the disorder becomes more evident.

Autism is characterized by difficulties in communication and social interactions and repetitive and restricted behavior patterns. Individuals with ASD also have interests in specific activities or hobbies.

They spend a lot of time learning or executing this interest.

Social Interaction Difficulties

As a result of the communication deficit, the individual with ASD is unable to initiate, respond or maintain social interactions, as well as share emotions. with ease. Interpreting body language and facial expressions is also a challenge.

As such, he may say inappropriate or hurtful things (because he doesn’t understand them) and be unable to identify whether the other person was upset or not. If she expresses her feelings, he won’t be able to understand them.

The autistic person also sees eye contact as undesirable. She quickly looks away when it’s done accidentally or leads a conversation without looking at the individual she’s talking to.

These behavioral deficits can prevent friendships from forming. formation and behavior adjustment in different contexts.

The person with ASD usually does not understand social rituals because sometimes it is necessary to have a quieter behavior and, at other times, be more extroverted.

Repetitive Behavioral Patterns

Repetitive behaviors should not be repressed, as they help to control stress and negative emotions. People with ASD feel easily overwhelmed and may manifest some of these behaviors to feel better.

Repetitive movements are the most common, such as shaking hands, snapping fingers multiple times, lining up toys or personal objects, separating food on the plate, and echolalia (repetition of phrases or words).

People with autism may also experience anxiety when faced with changes in their meals, clothing, or family traditions.

Although they do not understand social rituals very well, individuals with ASD develop their rituals (which may involve family members) and become attached to them.

When some factor is out of place, they get worried. They need a longer period to get used to sudden changes.

A fixation on specific interests also fits into behavioral patterns. It causes exaggerated preoccupation with the object of interest and, again, when there is any abnormality, anxiety returns.

Finally, exaggerated reactions to sensory stimuli are common, such as screaming, clapping your head or stomping your leg, kicking a wall, and/or kicking yourself on the floor. Loud noises, strong smells, and blinding lights are examples of unpleasant stimuli.

Understanding the Autism Spectrum

The behavioral patterns described above may be exhibited to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the person’s “level of autism”. That is, the autistic individual you live with may manifest more repetitive behaviors or have more difficulty expressing themselves.

However, some characteristics, such as the difficulty of reading emotions, are common in all cases.

When treatment is started in the first years of life, the autistic child can overcome some of the recurring challenges of this neurological condition.

The child can be more expressive and sociable compared to adolescents, young people, and adults who did not have access to the same resources.

Furthermore, they would not be able to understand why they are misunderstood by others, or why third parties do not understand the means they use to communicate. After all, for them, their behavior is completely logical!

Therefore, it is necessary to observe each person to discern the outstanding factors in their conduct. One should never assume that all people with ASD are the same.

Depending on the degree and response to treatment, many are highly functional and work, study, chat and are even on social media.

By understanding that “each case is different”, you will be able to react better to atypical behaviors and, consequently, make coexistence more pleasant for both of you.

Tips for Good Coexistence

Both people outside the spectrum and people on the spectrum react strangely to each other’s behavior. You may find the autistic person uncomfortable or unpredictable, but know that they probably feel the same way about your attitudes.

The difference is that you can become aware of this reality and thus take the first step towards living together. Some tips have been highlighted to help you do this stress-free. Check it out below:

1. Be Kind

Imagine living in a world you don’t fully understand. A world where only a few things make sense and please you, bringing you a sense of security for a brief period.

The rest of the time, you are forced to live with unwanted people, sounds, smells, activities, jobs, and rituals.

It wouldn’t be very cool, right?

Nonviolent communication is essential here. Before getting angry or belittling the autistic person, put yourself in their shoes. You can distance yourself and reduce your socializing until you gain more knowledge about autism instead of being rude.

2. Be Patient

Your patience will likely be exercised daily until you acquire a meek way of speaking, acting, and thinking.

Screaming won’t help you at all. It could damage the relationship even more. See the situation as great training to apply this quality to other areas of your life.

3. Be Understanding

Understand the differences between your way of thinking and acting and those of the person with ASD. Build a safe environment so he/she can feel good while with you, even though she’s not social.

Practice listening and careful observation to decipher the signals she sends, and little by little, your communication will improve.

4. Provide Space When Needed

Autistic people need moments of solitude. They have fun and feel good with silence. The absence of complicated social interactions helps them to rest. So know when it’s time to retire.

In the case of children, parents can provide various toys or offer contact with a pet (docile). Animal therapy is very common and recommended by psychologists to improve social skills and calm the child.

5. Express Your Discomfort Gently

If you felt offended or uncomfortable at any point, talk to the person with ASD. Try to explain, patiently and sensitively, why her conduct is considered improper.

Do it with caution and respect, avoiding expressing elation. Autistic people notice when you are talking about them or making fun of them, so be kind.

6. Learn About Autism

Study how autism affects the person’s life, their difficulties, and strengths, the peculiarities of their behavior, what pleases them, and what can cause an anxiety crisis.

Thus, you can modify some behaviors so as not to confuse her and improve the relationship between you.

For example, since individuals with ASD don’t like unforeseen changes, be consistent with your actions and words. Let her know weeks before you start any changes that will affect your lives (and the rest of the household).

Keep a daily routine to help you find that consistency. This attitude is especially beneficial for children.

7. Seek Professional Help

You can consult a psychologist to understand more about autism, in addition to working on your emotions and thoughts to accept the condition of the other.

It is also possible to do family therapy, together with the person with the disorder, so that both can express themselves and reach a “consensus” on how they should address each other.

For children, therapy is especially beneficial, as the child is observed in the context of school, home, and clinic, that is, in the main environments of social interaction.

The Author

Oladotun Olayemi

Dotun is a content enthusiast who specializes in first-in-class content, including finance, travel, crypto, blockchain, market, and business to educate and inform readers.