Approximately 1 in 88 children has been diagnosed with autism, so chances are good that you know someone who is affected by this condition. Autism comes in various forms, and carries symptoms and signs that range from mild to severe. As your child goes through school, she will probably encounter children with autism. Autistic children often act and learn differently than typical children, and these differences can seem scary or strange to your child, particularly if she has never met anyone with autism before. Since April is Autism Awareness Month, now is a great time to work with your child so that she can understand a bit about the condition, which will give her the tools that she needs to be comfortable with and befriend those with the condition. Here are Shopaholic Mommy we will be bringing you articles all month long to help raise Autism awareness!
Read Books Together
There are several excellent children’s books on the subject of autism. Ask your librarian or your child’s teacher for suggestions, or try a few of these:
- Waiting for Benjamin, by Alexandra Jessup Altman, about a young boy who explores his own feelings regarding his brother, who has autism.
- Zack and the Prairie Dog, by Charles S. Decker, a book about a prairie dog who is autistic.
- My Brother Sammy, by Becky Edwards is another book about a brother trying to look at things the way his brother with autism does.
- Looking After Louis, by Lesley Ely is a book that describes the way a classroom of children includes a boy with special needs.
- The Flight of a Dove, by Alexandra Day, about a girl with autism who is able to connect well with animals.
Experience Sensory Overload
Many children with autism experience distress when trying to focus on one thing, because they process sensory interruptions differently than their typical peers. While your child may be able to tune out distractions, a classmate with autism might not be able to. Help your child understand this by creating a situation that might be similar to what a child with autism faces on a daily basis. Go to a park or other busy area. Have your child wear headphones with music playing, and talk to your child at the same time. Give her a challenging worksheet or puzzle to do in the midst of all of the distractions. When she sees how difficult completing the task is, this can help her to develop empathy for a child with autism or other special sensory needs.
Your local community may sponsor special autism awareness events during the month of April. Check your local newspaper, your child’s school newsletter or your community’s recreation center. Take your child to one or more of these events, and encourage her to help by making posters or passing out literature. As more people of all ages understand the trials and tribulations that families affected by autism face, they will give those with autism the acceptance that they need and deserve.
Are you planning to do anything special to participate in Autism Awareness Month?
Do you have any other book selections other than the ones we mentioned?
We are so excited to be joining forces with one of the most well know Autism Organizations on the Internet!