Growing Up Together: A Booklet About Friends With Autism
What Does it Mean to Have Autism?
Children with autism think differently and act differently because their brains work differently. They may have difficulty talking, learning, or playing with you. But, just like you, children with autism are special in many ways, and have families that love them very much. They may also enjoy the same things you do, like swimming, videos, or horseback riding.
Why Do Children with Autism Act This Way?
Some children with autism do not see, hear, orfeel things the same way we do. For instance, the sound of the school bell or the noise of a parade may actually hurt their ears. On the other hand, things that bother most of us, like a beesting, may not seem to hurt to them.
Some kids with autism may:
- Have trouble talking, make strange sounds, or not talk at all
- Flap their hands, spin, or laugh a lot
- Behave or play in unusual ways
- Be very active or be very quiet and like to spend time alone
- Have trouble looking directly at you
- Do or say the same things over and over again
It is hard for some children with autism to understand what we say or what our facial and body expressions mean. But, this does not mean you should stop trying to talk to them. Sometimes, showing them a picture oran object helps them understand things better. For example, if you aretalking about baseball, pointing to a baseball card may help your friend know what you mean.
Do Kids with Autism Get Frustrated?
Like all people, kids with autism can get frustrated and angry, but they often cannot tell us why. Instead of words, they may use actions to express their feelings. When they are upset, confused, or bored, they may make noises or spin
around. When they are excited or happy, they may flap their hands, jump up and down, or run in circles. Many children with autism get upset when their surroundings or schedules change because new or different things can be very difficult or scary for them. They may cry, hold their hands over their ears, or run away. Children with autism have a hardtime controlling their behavior because they have difficulty understanding or dealing with the world around them.
Reprinted with the permission of the Autism Society.
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