How to Be a Friend to Someone with Autism
We know that it can be challenging to find ways to relate to and befriend an individual that is on the Autism spectrum, as you may see the world differently and feel as though you cannot make them happy as a friend. That is not always the case, in fact individuals with Autism may want to be friends with you, but have a harder time showing their affection, passion and enthusiasm about relationships. We think it is important to know how you can befriend a person that is on the Autism spectrum, because they may become one of the most important people in the world to you, but you may never have the chance to get to know them due to differences intellectually. Look at our tips below to develop a magical friendship that may last a lifetime!
- Do not assume that he or she does not want to be your friend, just because they do not vocalize it. Many people on the Autism spectrum have trouble communicating their thoughts and feelings to people, so we encourage you to not assume that if he or she does not show or express obvious interest in being your friend, they truly are not interested. Try asking them to eat lunch with you, take a walk or to just hang out and talk to each other. By you initiating the plans, this will allow the other person to express their interest in whether they want to befriend you or not, without them initiating the contact.
- Communication should be clear, concise and direct. Individuals with Autism normally respond well to short, to the point sentences that uses direct language. You should also be sure to speak at a reasonable volume and be sure to speak slowly, but not too slowly! You don’t want to offend them, after all! Give the individual time to respond to your sentences, allowing a conversation to flow freely.
- Make sure that you are respectful of them and view them as a person, not as a project. We know that your intentions may be pure, and you may want to make a new friend, but to an individual with Autism, they may feel differently about your intentions. Try not to look completely past their disability or try to change them, as it is an imperative part of their identity and their personality, but rather embrace it and appreciate them for who they are.
We hope that these tips will help you befriend an individual that is on the Autism spectrum and to create a bond that will last a lifetime. Remember that your friend may not have a positive social interaction with everyone, so be sure to stick up for them if you see them in a dilemma where they need assistance. We hope that you establish relationships that you will cherish deeply.