What is Autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are a group of conditions. Roughly 1 in 270 people have a form of Autism.
The abilities of people with Autism can vary over time and be different from other people with Autism.
Every person with Autism is different.
Supporting Young People with ASD
Part 1: Structure and Safety
Be Consistent: Use the same communication methods and routines.
Stick to a Schedule: If a young person is in a highly scheduled environment e.g. snack at a certain time, stick to it where possible this will ensure the young person is calm and relaxed.
Reward Good Behaviour: Positive reinforcement can go a long way – make an effort to catch the young person doing something good.
Create a safe space: Ensure there is a safe space for the young person to go if a situation is becoming too much (for some people this is a certain location on a floor, sometime under a table even in a cupboard)
Part 2: Nonverbal Communication
Look for nonverbal cues: Look out for facial expressions and sounds and gestures. This will help let you know how a young person is feeling.
Understand the behaviour: If a young person acts up or out of character it is important to try and understand why, especially in terms of a meltdown. Think about what non-verbal cues might have been present before the situation.
Sensory Sensitivities: Many young people with an ASD also have a sensory sensitivity such as light, sound, touch, it is important to understand how these affect a young person and what can be done to support them to cope with these.