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Tips on How to Engage With Individuals With Special Needs

Every month is Autism Acceptance Month in our world! Acceptance requires us all to do some work, so we reached out to some autistic friends for help. Together, we came up with some things we can all practice in order to engage with people who may have neurology that differs from our own:

  • Learn. Taking time to actively do some research can be enlightening.
  • Be welcoming. Initiating friendships can often be difficult for many. Be open!
  • Find the joy. When someone shows or tells us what they like, support that without judgment, and join in with the special interest.
  • Accommodate. It’s important to accept all needs, especially if some of those are different than what you may be used to.
  • Appreciate. Find, see, and hold onto the value, worth, and dignity of everyone.
  • Understand. Differences are not wrong, bad, shameful, or a problem. They are just different!
  • Have an open mind. Surrounding yourself with those who are different than you can be very interesting and stimulate new ideas and solutions.
  • Love. The person, their abilities, their differences.
  • Educate. Tell others about your experiences. In return, be open to listening to others.
  • Adapt. Meet others where they are, not where you want them to be.

Did you read this list assuming when we wrote about others, we are referring to autistic people? Try reading it again from the perspective of someone with autism, reaching out to someone without!

Please contact Autism Connection of PA at help@autismofpa.org or call (412) 781-4116 to learn more about the autism, or the “nonautism,” in your life!

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