One easy way to do this is to simply encourage kindness, especially when encountering individuals with autism in your day-to-day activities.
If you see a parent or caregiver with a child or adult with autism who acting out, instead of staring or walking away, ask “Can I help?” Offer to let that family move ahead of you in a grocery store line or help find their waiter in case they need to exit a restaurant. It’s understandable that those unfamiliar with autism might not know how to act or find such scenarios awkward or disruptive. You can be a role model for others and help alleviate a stressful situation.
Here's a story that gets to the "Heart of the Matter"
The website The Mighty frequently posts uplifting stories about how far a kind gesture can go.
A recent op ed talking about adults with autism also sums it up nicely:
Much as Braille elevator buttons and stairway ramps strip away limitations imposed by physical disabilities, so can a genuine welcome from the community, and slight adjustments by “the rest of us” to the ways people with autism relate socially go a long way toward neutralizing the perception that they don’t, and can’t, “fit in.”
Getting there is easy. It’s ordinary decency. It’s not being put off by someone who doesn’t make eye contact. Not jumping to conclusions that an unkempt man strolling down the sidewalk is dangerous. Rolling with it when the woman dining alone at a neighboring table rocks in her seat. Sizing up your strangely speaking neighbor as a potential friend, rather than making him the guy to avoid.
Post these stories to social media to encourage others to show some heart!
Tell us what you think in the comments!