According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control, one in every 80 children is diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This group of disorders includes Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Delay – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). Each of these disorders has its own unique symptoms and treatment but all ASD’s effect three main areas of development: communication, socialization and cognition.
Since ASD’s are becoming more prevalent, many people know someone with an ASD or someone who has a child with an ASD. The following tips and information are intended to help you better understand or interact with someone who has an ASD:
- People with an ASD often have difficulty communicating. Those diagnosed may speak very slow or very fast. Some people use pictures to communicate. It is helpful to listen carefully, speak at a slow pace and to speak clearly when communicating.
- Socialization and social settings are difficult for people with an ASD. Many people will often have difficulty understanding jokes, sarcasm or idioms. It is helpful to avoid using such nuances when talking to someone with an ASD.
- ASDs can make processing ideas, problems or situations difficult. It is helpful to break down ideas, processes or situations into smaller parts or steps; many people do best with a written schedule or flow chart that shows each step.
- ASDs effect a person’s senses, so some people are overly sensitive to lights, sounds, smells or physical sensations. If you see a person with an ASD rocking, moving their hands quickly or fidgeting they may be overly stimulated. It is often helpful to reduce the lights, background noise or level of activity in the environment.
People with an ASD live and work amongst us in the community. If you would like to know more about these disorders, including more ways to successfully work with someone with an ASD, contact EAP.
Buffalo/Erie County (716) 681-4300
Outside of Erie County (800) 888-4162
Click on Employees, Family Members
Submitted by: Kathy Kelly, administrative associate, Human Resources