AJK Radio is proud to be a voice for Autism
UNDERSTAND AUTISM, THE PERSON AND WHAT TO DO
“My son’s not naughty – he’s autistic.
It’s just that sometimes he gets overwhelmed. The bright lights reflecting on the shopping centre floor. The different music coming from different shops. The smell of the perfumes on every shopper, the wafts of coffee, tea, burgers, chips. Every face, every conversation. Everything, all at once.
So if you see someone having a meltdown, don’t judge them – think ‘TMI’ instead. It can make a world of difference to someone like my son.”
Give the person some time – it can take a while to recover from an information overload. Calmly ask them (or their parent or friend) if they’re OK, but bear in mind they’ll need more time to respond than you might expect. You see, with so much going on around them, autistic people sometimes need more time to process information. So if you ever ask a question and don’t get an answer right away, just wait. It might seem like the meltdown will never end, but it will. So just be patient, and be there.
Try to create a quiet, safe space as best you can. Ask people to move along and not to stare; turn off loud music and turn down bright lights – whatever you can think of to reduce the information overload, try it.
Imagine feeling so overloaded that you just couldn’t cope. Imagine the difference it would make if someone showed you a little kindness, rather than judging you as a naughty kid having a meltdown, or a ‘weirdo’ flapping their hands. A little understanding can go a long, long way – just a nod or some words of kindness can really put someone at ease.
Finding it hard to imagine? Then find out from autistic people what it really feels like.