Growing Up Together
Our world is made up of many different kinds of people. Each one of us is special in our own way, but we are all very much alike. We all have friends and families, go to school, and have hobbies such as soccer, art, or music.
Children with autism may look like other kids, but if you met them you would find they are different in some ways. It may be hard for them to play, to make friends or to learn new things. Some may have trouble talking or understanding what people say. Some may talk too much about a favorite topic. But, just like you, children with autism are very special in many ways. They have families who love them very much, they go to school, and they have special interests.
This article is about people you may meet who have autism and how you can be their friend.
What Is Autism?
Autism affects the way a person’s brain and body works. It is not a disease and is not contagious. You cannot catch autism from a classmate or friend. A person with autism may have a hard time communicating with other people, making friends, or following directions. However, with the help of teachers, classmates, families, and friends, children with autism often can find it easier to learn in spite of these challenges.
How Do Kids with Autism Act?
Children with autism may act in some unusual ways. Some may have difficulties with certain activities, but they may have strengths in other areas. For instance, a child with autism may be a math whiz, a great artist or unbeatable at computer games. Still, they may have trouble putting their thoughts into words or understanding what you say. Some children with autism prefer that schedules stay the same or that people always sit in the same seats. They may have a difficult time when things change. Changes may be scary for them, so they may try telling others what to do or where to sit. You may think they are being “bossy” but it is really them trying to adjust to the changes. When schedules change and they do not know what is coming next, they can be very upset, sad or angry.
Reprinted with the permission of the Autism Society.
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