3. Communicate for communities sake: Help to carefully bridge relationships between peers and those with autism. This is an intuitive process, so be careful of boundaries. Try hooking up with a “peer coach.” Reach into who they truly are and help to pull them out. Get them to volunteer, sign up for an acting class or try to find others who have something in common. By building, nourishing and enhancing young relationships with peers, employers, family and community, the fabric of humanity is enhanced.
HOW PARENTS CAN HELP:
After I got Jonny and Stephen in football it was difficult at first because Jonny was not accepted. He was seen as someone who was different. At the first parent meeting, Coach Dave said “when the boys are on the field they are mine, when they go home they go back to you parents. Please respect this rule and the kids will learn respect and discipline.” I worked with the Coach to help Jonny fit in, of course the coach talked and modeled a lot about acceptance, because he too was in a wheelchair. He treated everyone the same and expected the best from everyone. One time Dave, told Jonny to do push ups. Jonny ran over to me on the sidelines crying because he didn’t want to do push ups. I told him, at the disapproval of the staring parents around me, to do what the coach said. This one thing changed Jonny for life! When Jonny began his practice he was running behind all the team players as they ran their laps. As the year went on, something happened that caused the team to bond and embrace Jonny for who he was as well as his strengths. He was really a good blocker, because since he always did the same thing over and over again. The team began running behind Jonny, so that he would be first in line when they ran laps. By the end of the season, the whole team celebrated Jonny at the final pizza party, giving him a great big “hoorah”!