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Monday, June 19, 2017

The struggle to socialize for families with autism

Many children with autism engage in repetitive behaviors — often called stimming — such as flapping their hands, banging their head, repeating a word or phrase, or repeatedly touching a part of their body. It helps them stay calm in stressful situations. For Oliver, it’s looking at kids out of the corner of his eye and brushing up against them. 
To neurotypical kids and parents, the behaviors can seem strange or even aggressive. 
“Sometimes that would scare the kid so they would go to the parent … and it could turn into an altercation because they don’t understand that he’s autistic,” Carner said. “Because usually with a lot of people it’s judge first, ask questions later.
Tips for parents 
If parents are nervous about taking their child out, OHSU’s Zuckerman recommends they put together a story board where they lay out pictures and tell a story about what’s going to happen. They could even go to the place and take pictures beforehand. 
“They can rehearse it virtually before they actually do it, so that way when the child gets there, they’re not surprised by what it’s like,” she said, adding it’s a good idea to bring the story board along.