Talking to Peers About Autism

Talking to Peers About Autism Annette Wragge

Often we try to avoid giving information to students about autism because we don't want to make the individual seem different. Unfortunately, not giving peers good information about autism can cause confusion and misunderstandings about why the person with autism my act, or respond to situations, in a certain way.  

Talking to peers about autism is something that must be discussed with the IEP team. Parents/Caregivers must be involved in the decision and approve of the peer training. It has been our experience that very positive things can result from giving peers good information about autism and how it effects the student in their class.

For a list of resources for talking to Peers About Autism please visit our wiki site: http://neasdexchange.wikispaces.com/Resources+for+Talking+to+Peers+about+Autism

Here are 10 easy Tips for Being a Friend to a Classmate with Autism:

1.Take time to say “hi” whenever you see them. Even if you are in a hurry and pass them in the hall, just say “hi”.
2. Say something to them when they do good things. You can cheer, give high 5’s, or just tell them “great work”. They like to be complimented just like you do!
3. Treat them like anyone else, and talk to them like you would talk to another one of your friends. Don’t be too formal and try not to talk to them like they are a little kid.
4. Be considerate of the individual with autism’s feelings. He/she may not understand teasing. If other kids tease them, pull the other kid aside and tell him/her to stop.
5. Explain to other kids that certain behaviors are not the person's fault; it may just be part of having autism.
6. Try not to get mad at them for something they do that bothers you or something theydon’t do that they shouldindividuals with autism sometimes can’t help it.
7. Encourage them to try new things because sometimes they might be afraid to try new stuff.
8. Don’t be afraid to ask them to do something. They are great kids and can do a lot of things.
9. Find something to like about the student with autism. Often individuals with autism have special interests or talents that they are willing to share with you or are really good at.
10. It’s OK to want to play alone or with somebody else sometimes. We need to do that with our other friends, too.