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Fantastic information about autism can be rare. So when someone tells you that they are autistic, you might not know what to say. It’s essential to be kind, and talk in ways that support their self esteem (rather than accidentally tearing them down). This guide includes examples of what you are able to say to an autistic person, to help them feel supported and appreciated for who they are.

EditMeasures

EditWatching Their Disposition

  1. concentrate on the way they feel about autism. Whenever someone tells you something important about themselves, it is important to note how they feel about doing it. Recognizing their feelings can help you figure out how to respond.
  2. Be reassuring to someone who sounds excited or happy about their diagnosis. For some people, an autism diagnosis is a relief, because it explains unanswered questions regarding their own lives and empowers them to get the support they want. [1][two ] Feeling positively about autism can also be a indication of strong self esteem, that ought to be encouraged. Below are a few examples of things that you could say to somebody who is happy about being autistic:
    • “You’re autistic? That’s cool!”
    • “I’m so glad you finally got a diagnosis. I hope this can help make your life a lot easier.”
    • “My sister is autistic, also. She’s very kind and clever, a lot like you.”
    • “I am pleased to see you are feeling positively about being conversational. I think it’s great that the world is filled with many different sorts of people.”
    • “I’m glad for you.”
  3. Be sympathetic to someone who sounds negative or worried, without inviting them to feel bad. It can be challenging to listen to someone who feels down about themselves, and it can be even more difficult to know what to say. Attempt to validate their own feelings, without blaming them or blaming autism. Let them vent, without agreeing with their outlook.
    • “I’m sorry to hear that you are stressed about it.”
    • “It sounds like you’re overwhelmed with your new diagnosis.”
    • “Yeah, most people do say a lot of negative things about autism. It is understandable that would make you sad.”
    • “I’m sorry to hear you’re feeling helpless. I want you to understand that I don’t see you like that ”
  4. Provide a listening ear if they want to discuss it. If they are still sorting out their feelings of autism, or they have not yet accepted their diagnosis, then they may need someone to listen to them. Pay attention, ask questions, and try to validate their feelings. [3] Avoid pushing your own perspective too hard (even in case you believe that they’re very wrong). Below are some examples of things you can say:
    • “So that you felt amazed and enthused?”
    • “Seems like you did a lot of research. Can you find any good results?”
    • “I’m sorry to hear you are feeling so negatively about adultery. Why do you think like that?”

EditUnderstanding What to Avoid Saying

  1. Avoid pitying or inspirational remarks. Congratulating them for existing, or speaking about how terrible autism needs to be, can make them feel terrible about themselves. It is not beneficial to make someone feel as though they’re defective. [4][5] below are a few examples of damaging opinions:
    • “I’m so sorry.”
    • “Wow, that is awful.”
    • “You’re so brave!”
    • “You must require a hug.”
    • “Oh, that’s so sad!”
    • “It’s very strong for one to carry on. If I had autism, I would kill myself.”
    • “I feel sorry for the parents.”
  2. Do not deny or minimize their adultery. Making minimizing or stereotype-based remarks can show how ignorant you are, and might make them feel bad. It is impolite to contradict them when they tell you that they are, if you do it implicitly or expressly. Unhelpful statements include:[6][7][8]
    • “You do not look autistic.”
    • “But you can talk/make eye contact/smile/draw/attend college/have a job/do interesting things!”
    • “Are you sure?”
    • “You’re not disabled. You are differently abled.”
    • “Autism is just an excuse for bad behaviour.”
    • “However, you are not a boy/child/white person!”
    • “You can do anything you put your mind to. Do not let autism hold you back.”
    • “Everyone’s a little autistic.”
  3. Avoid categorizing them as high-functioning or low-functioning. Functioning tags do more damage than good. If you call them”high-functioning,” then they might worry that you will discount their needs and struggles, and if you call them”low-functioning,” they might worry you won’t see their strengths. Avoid sorting them in a binary. Examples of unhelpful remarks contain:
    • “You have to be quite high-functioning, then.”
    • “It has to be very mild.”
    • “You must be on the higher end of this spectrum. You seem ordinary to me”
    • “I understand someone on the spectrum… They are a whole lot more intense than you.”
    • “You do a great job of concealing it.”
    • “In my child could do exactly what you can, I’d consider them recovered.”
  4. Avoid assuming that they have a special talent. Only around 1 in 10 autistics have skills. These stereotypes aren’t useful,[13][14] and they can be discouraging to autistic men and women who do not have some savant skills. While there are lots of gifted autistic people, nearly all autistics worked hard to acquire their skills (just like non-autistics have).
    • “You must be good at math.”
    • “So that makes you a computer wizard, correct?”
    • “Does that mean you are able to draw landscapes out of memory”
    • “So what is your superpower?”
  5. Do not pry about medical details. Just like you wouldn’t ask a non-autistic individual about their health, it is rude to ask unsolicited health questions to an autistic person. [15][16] Autistics deserve to have their privacy respected, just like everyone else. [17] They will just tell you medical details if they feel comfy, in their own conditions.
    • “Are you currently on drugs for that?”
    • “What type of therapy are you likely to get for this?”
    • “Can you have sex?”
  6. Prevent discussions of causation or cure. [18] Autism is a inherent, lifelong disability. Asking what triggered it, or if they need a remedy, has a horrible subtext: the idea that autistics are defective, and the entire world would be better outside without them.
  7. “Can you get better soon?”
  8. “I read that autism was due to vaccines/GMOs/TV/milk/bad parenting/pollution/cats/toxins/demons.”
  9. “I heard they’re working on a treat. Are not you excited?”
  10. “Aren’t you worried your children could get it out of you?”
  11. “Perhaps you have tried yoga/essential oils/oxytocin/exorcism?”
  12. “I heard about this cool new therapy to train kids with disabilities to learn to be normal.
  13. “I’ll beg for God to cure you.”
  14. Do not criticize their unusual behavior. Autistic men and women are somewhat different, in ways they can not always control. They may have developed coping mechanisms that look odd to you. Try not to make a huge deal outside of quirks like rocking or hand-flapping. If they’re being disruptive (like being dumb in a library), just gently let them know.
  15. “You are acting crazy. Calm down.”
  16. “Would you stop asking so many questions? You’re annoying.”
  17. “Stop using your autism as an excuse.”
  18. “You’re weird.”
  19. “Eye contact is not that hard. Make an effort.”

EditUnderstanding What to Say

  1. Contemplate confirming your love or esteem for them. From time to time, autistics might worry that disclosing their diagnosis will cause you to view them differently. You can reassure them that things will not change since you understand of their identification today. Below are some examples of useful things to say:
    • “You’re still my wife, and also the same person I’ve known and loved for ages. This analysis changes nothing about us.”
    • “This doesn’t change anything. You’re still my amazing nerdy friend.”
    • “Now that Daddy and I know you are autistic, we will know much better ways to assist you. But not much will change. We’ll still have fun, and play outdoors, and do all of the things we do as a family.”
  2. Know that it’s okay to ask questions if you do not know. [22][23] As long as you’re kind and polite, it is generally okay to ask questions.
    • “I really don’t understand autism nicely. Could you please explain it to me?”
    • “I discovered that some autistic individuals don’t like to be touched.
    • “I discovered a few bizarre stereotypes, such as that autistics can’t speak or have occupations. That, knowing youpersonally, is obviously untrue. Can you educate me a little more about autism, to allow me to eliminate any other misconceptions I might have?”
  3. Feel free to mention the positive autistic traits you have seen inside them. This may be reassuring and confirming to the autistic individual. No wonder”
  4. “I’ve always noticed how passionate and focused you are. I am not surprised to find out you are autistic.”
  5. “I once read that autistic people can be extremely creative. Thinking about the gorgeous pictures you paint, I am not surprised.”
  6. Try asking them to let you know how you can help. Every autistic individual is different, and that usually means that different autistic people will need unique types of support.
    • “I want to know how I could help.”
    • “How can I help you succeed in my course?”
    • “I’ve noticed you cover your ears sometimes when there’s sound. Would you like hanging out in quieter places?”
    • “How do I help you once you get overwhelmed?”
    • “I’ve noticed that occasionally, you fight to find the phrase you’re searching for. When that happens, does it help if I propose words, or can it be better if I just wait while you try to come across the word?”
      Let life continue as usual. You do not need to treat them differently.
    • “Which are your favourite things?”
    • “Are you fidgeting because you’re uncomfortable, or are you just doing this for fun?”
    • “What kind of music do you enjoy?”
    • “Want to come to the book store with me?”
    • “I will get ice cream. Do you want some too?”

EditTips

  • should they say they’re having difficulty finding information, or that the majority of the info is negative and disempowering, try indicating wikiHow’s autism articles.

EditWarnings

  • The anti-vaccination movement can be quite hurtful to autistic people, who might be made to feel like they are damaged or viewed as suffering a fate worse than death.