Making A Difference In Your Community with Autism
Community integration is one of the first considerations for business owners, educators, and anyone else that plays a vital role in that community. It is important to ensure that each individual has a role and a place within the community. Unfortunately, individuals with disabilities, such as autism, are often overlooked in many happenings that affect the community, like the planning of events, meetings, the election of people for leadership roles, and marketing efforts to name a few.
This article aims to build awareness and share knowledge about autism, a common and commonly misunderstood disorder. Due to the increasing prevalence of autism spectrum disorder, there is a strong chance that anyone with an active role in their community will interact with a child or an adult with this disability. Each heading stands for one of the three major symptom categories of autism spectrum disorder and includes ways to address these characteristics in order to integrate individuals with autism into their community.
Varying Degrees of Social and Behavioral Difficulties
People without the disorder may sense the affected individual’s difficulty behaving in socially acceptable ways. This is manifest in many ways in children. A child with autism may not like to share or wait for a turn. A nine-year-old child may exhibit the same level of social competence as a much younger child. An adult may not be able to grasp the significance of authority figures. When interacting with these individuals, don’t assume something as being obvious. For instance, the person may not recognize the significance of a guard or police officer and may need to be reminded repeatedly to listen to this professional. They may also have difficulty recognizing social cues, like when to act serious or when it is appropriate to laugh or shake hands versus give hugs.
Being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (autism) does not mean that an individual cannot learn or “won’t get” what you mean, rather this disorder is often managed or treated over time and with educational, family, and community intervention. The older the person gets the more difficult to teach them new social skills. Regardless of the person’s age, take the time to explain things to them as many times as necessary they will get it. A great way to teach new social skills is to ask someone who has mastered these skills to model them for the person. When planning a community event or educational activity, try to favor group or pairing activities that allow the person with a disability to seek help in a way that makes them feel comfortable.
One of the earliest symptoms of autism spectrum disorder is difficulty initiating social interaction. Since the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder can vary in intensity, frequency, and symptom expression, it is important to interact with each person as an individual case. In other words, don’t assume that two of your community members with autism are both easily agitated or have trouble working with others.
Making the Communication Process Easier for You and the Individual with Autism
What we refer to as a basic communication model may represent a huge accomplishment for some people on the spectrum. Communication is initiated with a question or comment, a response is given followed by verbal or nonverbal affirmation or a new prompt to keep the conversation going. Children and adults with autism may have difficulty using verbal communication cues. Many children on the spectrum are nonverbal. Make sure that your instructions, program schedule, or meeting agenda is presented in many formats through writing, pictures, and live presentation and demonstrations if possible.
Like all individuals, people with autism have varying learning styles. Some are visual learners, some are auditory learners, and some are kinesthetic or tactile learners, who understand best when they are given materials to manipulate. Keep these differences in mind when trying to communicate ideas and information to children and adults with, as well as without, a disability.
Autism disorder can hinder language development and skills, the basis of effective communication. A dentist salt lake city puts it like this; “the communication process might be different in helping kids on the spectrum understand you, but this surely doesn’t mean it’s impossible.” There are two types of language skills: receptive language and expressive language. People who have trouble telling you what they mean or want, need to improve their expressive language skills. When you feel that an individual is having a hard time expressing themselves or naming objects, help them by saying back what they mean correctly and don’t just nod when you understand. For example, if an adult wants to leave a room and is having trouble saying what they need, tell them how to verbalize the request by saying, Oh, you need…
Avoid focusing on a single method of communication when you want to encourage prospective customers or community members to call you with orders, question, suggestion, or comments.
Adults with autism, like most other adults, don’t like paperwork and long, multi-step processes to get things done. Simplify your order forms and make sure your business website or advertisement is easy to navigate or scan. Add colorful arrows and or animations to online registration forms keeping in mind not to present the reader with too much stimulation. The purpose of the arrows and/or helpful animations is to guide the person and should not be distracting. Utah SEO services can help you develop and manage an inclusive website.
Each individual with or without disabilities has potential and talents. Encouraging an integrated community by taking steps to understand a certain disability will help business owners, community influencers, and educators benefit from these people and successfully share their knowledge and skills to benefit those with autism.