Dealing with Outsiders in Autism

Autism Sign

Everyone has the right to explore the world, visit public places, use public transportation, and be an active community member. But while some disabilities are apparent to people, autism does not necessarily show up on the surface.

Strangers assume that for autistic people dealing with this world is no different than that for a typical child. Except that it mostly isn’t and when they are held to the same standards as a normal person, it leads to stressful situations for the autistic child.

If you speak with the parents of an autistic child, they’ll surely tell you at least one incident of a passer-by who told them to handle their misbehaving youngster or gave them a strange look. Most people assume that the child is naughty and don’t think that disability could be the reason behind their unnatural behavior.

What Problems Are Mostly Faced?

Therapist drawing with child with autism.

Public places present many challenges for children with this disability. Autism creates extra difficulties which makes coping extremely hard as they do not understand appropriate social behavior and what’s normal for them looks strange to others. People don’t appreciate the difference.

Sensory sensitiveness often promotes behaviors that are shocking to outsiders. Children with autism lick or sniff their parents out of love and innocence and the parents are aware of it, but if a stranger is liked or sniffed in the same manner, they are likely to be startled and react in an unfriendly manner.

Eating issues often create trouble in public gatherings. There are several taboos related to food and for children with autism, it can be difficult to observe them all. For instance, taking food from someone else’s plate is considered bad manners but a child with autism would not be able to understand that.

Often people with ASD are not able to manage their voices. It is common for autistic people to speak too loud, and sound hostile or angry even when it is not the case. This makes people think that a person is being aggressive or rude deliberately when he or she is only trying to communicate in the best way possible.

We deal with family and friends differently than how we interact with strangers. But for children with ASD, it is hard to understand this difference. Some children with autism will hug strangers to demonstrate their friendliness, but the strangers are not pleased when such things happen as they find it offensive.

Children with ASD often suffer from high anxiety. In a busy or new place, they may quickly lose control and exhibit behaviors that people consider challenging. For parents, managing such behaviors in public can be very difficult.

Parents of a child with ASD realize that even when they do their best, people who do not understand autism will judge them and blame them for their child’s condition. What’s good parenting for children with autism is very different than what is considered good parenting for a normal child: they have different so needs are met differently, too.

Should You Explain?

There have been some serious debates about whether or not you should tell people about your child’s autism disorder and explain that it is the reason for their actions. If you tell them, it would neutralize the wrong assumption about you being bad at parenting. If your child is experiencing a meltdown, people will back off to let you handle it instead of giving you unwanted advice.

On the other hand, you may think that the condition of your child is nobody else’s business and you should not have to provide everyone a medical record. You may not even be in any mood to get involved with others as you’re already worried about your child’s condition.

It all comes down to what you decide. You may think differently on certain occasions and whatever decision you make, just remember the wellbeing of your child should always be your focus, so go ahead with what best supports your child.

Any Resources that Can Help?

Special cards are printed by the “National Autistic Society” which can be used in case of emergencies to make people aware of your child’s condition.

Unfortunately, for you to manage your feelings there isn’t much official helping material available. It can be challenging to manage a child with ASD, but you should never give up as your child needs your love and support to survive in this harsh world.


Identifying the Early Signs of Autism

The range and severity of symptoms in autism spectrum disorder can vary widely. However, there are common symptoms, such as difficulty with communication, obsessive interests, and repetitive behaviors.

Distinctions in Social Behavior

Deficits in social behavior is one very common symptom of autism. These defects often take the form of reduced eye contact, reduced showing of objects, reduced pointing, reduced following a speaker’s line of gaze, and other issues. As children with autism grow older, other social abnormalities, such as reductions in reciprocal social interaction and difficulty identifying and interpreting others’ emotions, often become apparent.

Early Detection

Identifying autism early, ideally before 18 months, can make a difference. But being able to catch autism early, means understanding autism and being able to identify early signs. Parents should keep an eye on when their child hits key social, emotional, and cognitive milestones. Developmental delays could indicate a heightened risk for autism.

Identifying Deficiency in Communication Skills in Young Children

Regression of communication skills is a serious warning sign. Children may start to develop communication skill, and then regress. This usually occurs between 12 and 24 months. Children who started to speak may stop entirely. Children who started playing social games, such as peek-a-boo, patty cake, or waving goodbye may stop doing so.

Infants with autism spectrum disorder won’t exhibit normal behaviors, such as responding to cuddling, reaching out to be picked up, or looking at their mothers when being fed. Early signs also include babies and toddlers who don’t smile when they are smiled at, don’t respond to their names or familiar voices, don’t follow objects visually or a gesture when someone points things out, don’t imitate movements and facial expressions, don’t play with other people, and don’t ask for help or make other basic requests.

Determining Autism in Older Children

In older children, red flags get more diverse but they still typically revolve around impaired social skills, speech and language difficulties, nonverbal communication difficulties, and inflexible behavior. Older children will appear disinterested in what’s going on around them; will have difficulty playing or making friends; will prefer not to be touched or held; won’t play pretend games, imitate others, or use toys in creative ways; and will seem aloof and detached from others.

Behaviors that may indicate autism is the repetition of the same actions or movements over and over again, which is known as self-stimulatory behaviors. Examples of these behaviors include hand flapping, rocking back and forth, snapping fingers, spinning objects, repeating words or noises, and watching moving objects.