Here is a list of tips i came up with to explain Jonny’s idiosyncrasies to people when he was younger
WHAT AUTISM IS: Jonny has a neurological condition called autism where he thinks differently than other kids
HOW DOES HE THINK DIFFERENT?
• SOCIAL SKILLS: His ability to relate to people and say the appropriate things is a challenge. Sometimes people might think he’s not paying attention like he’s in another world or could care less even though he does. He just may not show it.
• COMMUNICATION: He talks, reads and writes just fine though the way some of his thoughts come through may be different and sound odd to regular people at times.
• SENSORY: He may get too close, or feel uncomfortable in a crowd of people. The “proper” social distance we intuitively know are hard for him to perceive. He also may lack eye contact. Also the type of clothing he wears may effect his moods. Be sensitive to this.
HOW TO DEAL WITH HIM
• FACILIATE FRIENDSHIPS: Since its more difficult for him to seek out friendships, facilitate relationships by introducing him to potential friends and helping them establish something in common to talk about.
• TRANSITION: When its time to change an activity, sometimes Jonny stays stuck on what hes doing. Give him warnings that he “will” be changing what hes doing so his mind has time to change. Maybe say 5 minutes left in this, 3 minutes and so on.
• BEHAVIOR MELT DOWN: If he has a temper tantrum, talk calm to him and ask him what the problem is. Always get BOTH sides of the story as it could simply be a result of a misunderstanding.
• DOESN’T WANT TO PARTICIPATE: First, encourage him to participate anyway. You may have to do some serious convincing. If he absolutely refuses and its going to cause a scene, either provide an alternative activity or send him back to his cabin. Be creative.