From our friends at the Autism Alliance of Northeastern NY:
In 2017, New Zealand officials added new words to the Maori language for mental health and disabilities. The word for Autism is “‘takiwatanga,” meaning “his or her own time and space.”
Autism is a bio-neurological developmental disability that commonly appears in children before the age of three. It is a disorder that impacts typical brain development in the areas of social interaction, communication, and cognitive function. As a spectrum disorder, autistic behaviors and traits are unique to each individual. That is why awareness, acceptance, and understanding are critical to helping people on the spectrum and their families.
This April, the Autism Alliance of Northeastern NY celebrates Autism Acceptance Month. We encourage our community to think about how we can make small changes to support and include people on the spectrum.
Five tips to be a good friend to someone with autism:
- Ask the individual or their family member how you can best support them.
- Be patient and understanding. Give them your full attention, take things slow, and notice their personal preferences.
- Engage and encourage them to talk about their interests.
- Be clear when communicating. Use direct communication and provide well-defined expectations.
- Be sensitive. Many people on the spectrum have heightened sensory perceptions of sight, sound, touch, and smell. Being aware of this and making simple accommodations can help prevent sensory overload. Consider making small changes like turning down the volume of your phone, radio, and television.
Five tips to make your business more inclusive for individuals with autism:
- Ask your employees with autism what sort of accommodations they may need.
- Consider staff training on autism and how to provide appropriate support.
- Offer a sensory-friendly hour during less busy times for autistic customers (contact the Autism Alliance for more information and scheduling events).
- Offer reduced waiting times.
- Provide visual supports, reduce noise, dim the lights, create a quiet area, and offer sensory kits or other modifications to create a more welcoming environment for individuals with autism and their families.
The Autism Alliance of Northeastern NY’s mission is to enhance the lives of individuals with autism and their families. Please join us in celebrating Autism Acceptance Month by learning about autism, each unique individual, and how to support them to live in “their own time and space.”
If you’re interested in learning more about autism or how to show your support during Autism Acceptance Month and beyond, please reach out to the Autism Alliance at 518-354-7000 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to help schedule special events, offer communication assistance, and be a thought partner for a more inclusive community.
We hope to see you at the Autism Alliance Walk happening on Saturday, May 6th at Clinton County Fairgrounds. For more details, check out the Autism Alliance of Northeastern NY’s events page at https://www.aaneny.org/events.
More resources from your library: