“If they can’t learn the way we teach, we teach the way we learn.”– Dr. Ole Ivar Lovaas
A lot of ignorance, fear, and stigmatization comes from not fully understanding ideas and concepts. Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is one such example when it comes to the confusion of the unknown. ASD refers to a wide range of states characterized by degree of difficulty of challenges. Most challenges are seen in non-verbal communication, repetitive behaviors, speech, and even social skills. Because of this “spectrum”, persons presenting with ASD can look very different on a case to case basis.
To help promote Autism (or ASD) Awareness Day, here are some tips on how you can educate yourself on interacting with persons with different abilities!
- Seek to understand them before expecting to be understood. Try to develop your empathy even in times when you try to be well mannered to the PWD community, but it backfires. Instead of getting angry, try to think about what you have said from their point of view.
- Do not victimize or have pity on people with different abilities. People with ASD or PWD are not automatically incapable of doing various life tasks. We all overcome challenges in our own lives, and they can overcome their own challenges too.
- Don’t assume they need help. Ask them if they need assistance before helping them. Never underestimate people with PWD because they can care for themselves without any assistance.
- Be cautious of your word choices. Avoid “handicapped”, “retarded” or “wheelchair bound.” Use phrases that prioritize the person first; like “person with ASD” instead of “autistic”.
- Find similarities before thinking about differences. It is the basic thing for human connection, to be connected in the simplest thing which is what interests the both of you.
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