How do you treat people with autism? In my experience the way people act can vary widely. Some people stare or act like I’m invisible. Others try to be nice. These fall into two groups. First are the ones who act like I am not understanding anything, who look at me like I’m a species of lower-cognition human. They try to help by talking slowly and giving me high-fives. They are well intended. I am not angry at not knowing and being kind. I do get angry if they know I understand and still act this way.
The other folks act pretty normally around me and ignore my weird stims when they come. I am so relaxed around these people. I do take advantage of the opportunities I get with people who are too understanding of me, however. If someone is not intuitive and I feel they are clueless, I can be a real pain, to put it mildly. I mean, all I need is a weak, sympathetic helper and I’m a strangely obnoxious guy. It gets awful because I don’t like being so stimmy and all, but I take advantage of the opportunity time after time. I laugh now thinking of the hapless substitute aide two years ago, who talked to me like I was retarded, watched me stim without helping me get control over myself, and told my mom I had a “good day” at school. When my aide returned the next day the assistant principal stopped her and said, “Never be absent again.” Ha ha ha. It’s funny now, if not then.
This is true in a way for all people. My history teacher was really structured. The students were sitting and working quietly. It was a really nice class. My English teacher was not good at structure or discipline. The same students were rude and disruptive. That class was more of a trial. The students were mostly the same people. My impression now is that a good leader is essential in teaching and in people who work with me. It’s a true thing even with dogs, or anything. We work on making sure our dogs are not the leaders of our home. I know people whose dogs run the entire house.
In autism, we have impulse control problems. My aide must help me control impulses, keep me focused, and help me function in society. I am improving in self control. Glad about that, but I’ll tell the truth, I’m likely to take advantage of wimpy people and I bet your autistic kid will too.
Hope this helps with the selection of an aide.