Did you know that April is Autism Acceptance Month? The 2021 campaign is “Celebrate Differences.” Designed to build a better awareness of the signs, symptoms, and realities of autism, #CelebrateDifferences focuses on providing information and resources for communities to be more aware of autism, promote acceptance, and be more inclusive in everyday life. 

The prevalence of autism has increased in the United State from 1 in 125 children in 2010 to 1 in 59 children in 2020. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) usually becomes clearer in early childhood. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website includes a list of common signs and symptoms of ASD. Here are five things you can do to support a loved one with ASD:

1. Learn about Autism Spectrum Disorder. By educating yourself about ASD, you may be better prepared to recognize the signs and feel more confident when interacting with someone with autism. There are many variations as to how ASD presents in different individuals, and it can be important to remember that ASD does not look the same for every individual. 

2. Build Relationships First. Due to ASD presenting in a variety of ways, first and foremost it can be important to be respectful. Finding the best ways to communicate may take some time and patience. It is not uncommon for people with ASD to have less direct eye contact and to fixate on particular topics during conversation. Simple actions like gentle redirection to the next topic can help move the conversation forward. Be mindful that you may not have the same communication style, but that you can still find common ground and build rapport. 

3. Be Aware of Your Surroundings. Sensory issues are a common challenge for people with ASD. Avoiding large, crowded spaces, or bright colors, or loud environments can help create a positive environment for a person with autism. It can also help to verbalize common social norms, like personal space. 

4. Support Family and Friends Who Are Caregivers for a Person with ASD. Like all caregivers, one of the best ways to show support may be to give them a break from the daily routine. Whether making meals, cleaning, yard work, or childcare, there may be many great ways to support a caregiver. 

5. Support Coworkers with Autism. Individuals with ASD can add different perspectives and strengths to the workplace, and they can have challenges as well. If an issue comes up at work, be respectful, patient, and compassionate. Getting to know your coworker better can help both of you gain a deeper understanding of their specific strengths and challenges. Every person’s experience with ASD may be different and the support that each person needs may be specific to his or her experience.

For more information on ASD as well as assistance with related legal matters, please reach out to our office to schedule an appointment.