Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Understanding Autism - for First Responders



Check out prevent-educate.org.


Here are some things to consider when working with individuals with autism.

Communication:
  • May be non-verbal or have limited verbal skills.
  • May not respond to your commands or questions.
  • May repeat your words and phrases, your body language, and emotional reactions.
  • May have difficulty expressing needs.
Behavior:
  • May display tantrums or extreme distress for no apparent reason.
  • May laugh, giggle, or ignore your presence.
  • May be extremely sensitive to lights, sounds, or touch.
  • May display a lack of eye contact.
  • May have no fear of real danger.
  • May appear insensitive to pain.
  • May exhibit self-stimulating behavior, such as, hand flapping, body rocking, or attachment to objects.
When interacting with persons with autism keep the following in mind:
  • Display calming body language; give extra personal space.
  • Speak slowly, repeat, and rephrase your questions.
  • Use concrete terms and ideas, avoid slang.
  • Allow extra time for response.
  • Give praise and encouragement.
  • Seek advice from others who know the person with autism.