Ten Commandments for Interacting With Kids On The Autism Spectrum

1. Thou shall not yell when speaking to me.
My disability does not impair my hearing and I am extremely bright. Perhaps even brighter than you are.

2. Thou shall not ignore me, talk negatively about me, speak unnaturally slow, or ask questions to others in the room that pertain to me.
I can comprehend what you are saying just fine.

3. Thou shall believe in me and help me believe in my skills and self worth.
Note the good in me and do not merely point out my negative behaviors. Believe in me and I will believe in myself.

4. Thou shall not perceive me as dumb.
I am extremely intelligent. I do not learn in the same way as you, and maybe not as quickly as you expect me to. Have patience with me. Once I recall information, I never forget.

5. Thou shall not judge my behavior.
I can get overstimulated in certain environments. I may be hypersensitive to sound and loud noises may hurt my ears. Fluorescent lights are distracting for me. They have a humming noise, and can pulsate. All the noises in a room can blur together. Please make accommodations to help me.

6. Thou shall not be so quick to scold me.
Do not tell me that “I know what I did”. I do not. Tell me what my infraction was in a simple, concise manner. I want to please you, but I have difficulties inferring meaning within a vague statement. For instance, do not say please clean up your bedroom. Tell me exactly what you want, such as ‘Please make your bed and pick up your toys”.

7. Thou shall not compare me to others.
Please remind me, and note the talents that I possess. This increases my confidence and positive self worth. Learning disabled or not, we ALL have talents to contribute within society. I need you to help me realize what mine is. Believe in me and I will believe in myself.

8. Thou shall not exclude me from activities.
Please do not mimic me, ignore me, or bully me.  Please invite me to play with you. It hurts my feelings when I am excluded. I like to run and jump in the playground, and be invited to birthday parties too. Grownups can help me make friends by encouraging other children to play with me. I can be a loyal friend if you get to know me.

9. Thou shall give me choices.
I do not like being ordered about any more than the other children. Give me choices so I know you value my capabilities and opinions. Make them simple and concise. Present two options or so. I get confused when too many questions or directions are given at one time due to my processing speed. For instance, ask me if I would like to wear my blue sweater or green one, rather than asking which sweater I would like to wear.

10. Thou shall not judge me by my diagnosis, but by my character.
I am an individual, just like other children. As my son used to say, “Mom my name is John (name changed for his anonymity) not Asperger’s”. A profound statement I would say. :-0)

 

Please join me in my utopian world where society perceives individuals as a whole, and does not judge them merely in character segments.

Thank you!

Mari

About the author

has written 12 articles for Enabled Kids.

69 thoughts on “Ten Commandments for Interacting With Kids On The Autism Spectrum

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  2. I really didnt like this I am sorry, someone gave a link to it on facebook, my aspergers child screams swears at home and all the praise in the world doesnt mean or do anything. We praise him whenever we can and he has had horse riding, music, art etc lessons and they do nothing to calm him, as soon as gets home he goes off. I really get quite sick of all the feel good advise because it often comes from teachers etc. that dont live with an aspergers child, they dont have a child almost as big as them screaming in their face, hitting and punching and say they are going to kill you. THIS IS THE REALITY OF PARENTING AN ASPERGERS CHILD. This 10 commandments thing like so many other things on the internet about aspergers is utter rubbish. The reality is aspergers parents love their kids but the sad fact is that they are so angry and lost in the autistic world there is nothing we can do to reach them, it tears our family apart, my husband and i fight over how to dicipline him, it angers and upsets our other kids and we get very little joy from our asperger son. ASK the actual parents and the majority will say they are worn out, I sometimes wonders why I was born in the first place to have a child like this. life is very hard, and I am living a nightmare that I cant wake up from.

    • Sue, my heart is aching for you. Yours is truly a difficult lot. We parents always feel that we should be able to fix things or at least make them better. I’m praying/sending good thoughts, etc. for you and your family — because there’s nothing else I can do. <3

  3. James – I could not agree more that all individuals could benefit from these rules. :-0)

  4. Hi Janet – I am honored that you would like to use the Ten Commandments as a learning too – feel free. I am so glad you liked the article:-0)

  5. So true. Would you mind if I made a copy (giving you credit of course) and stick it to my refrigerator for July 14. My daughter is having her high school graduation and my husbands family ignours or are plain rude to my daughter. I found out after the fact and hope these steps will stop the rudeness or I will demand they leave.

  6. Hi Ragga – You are more than welcome to use my article partially or the whole thing as long as appropriate credit is used. My intent is to use The Ten Commandments as a learning tool and with the aid of wonderful people like you I can help more parents and educators. Thanks and I am glad you enjoyed the article:-0)

  7. Amazing piece of writing! Wish I’d thought of it myself for my own blog http://familyandautism.com. Absolutely love this!

    Would it be okay if I referred to this post from my blog, perhaps quoting some of this – with clear reference of course… ???

  8. Hi Virginia- Thanks for letting me know of your intent to use my article to make individuals aware in terms of how to deal with kids on the spectrum. It makes the effort in writing these articles so worthwhile. One of my goals is for the commandments to become a learning tool for these kids. Glad to hear you are taking a proactive stance and doing just that. :-0)

  9. Hi Julie- I am so glad to hear that my article was so helpful for your family. I wish to commend you on your proactive parenting style. Sitting down with both sons assists your neurotypical son with comprehending and empathizing with his siblings issues. Discussing the article with your son that has Aspergers assists him in feeling heard, empowers him, and helps him to feel like a productive member of your family- which he is. He is so lucky to have such a great parent.

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