Help us filter out the noise and stereotypes – learn signs of autism and the reasons behind the behaviors to discover how we’re the same – and different.

How to Help: Tips & Guidelines

If you see a parent or caregiver in a stressful situation with someone who appears to have an intellectual disability or autism, you can help by following a few guidelines:

What to do:

  • Offer assistance and respond appropriately. Ask the parent or caregiver, “Is there any way I can help?” before you jump to conclusions or jump in with assistance.
  • Give room. Close proximity (if not helping) can excite a situation.
  • Reassure others. If the parent or caregiver has let you know they do not need help, diffuse other onlookers by providing this information to them quietly.

What not to do:

  • Don’t judge. Most difficult behaviors arise from confusion or anxiety, not bad intentions.
  • Don’t assume I’m a bad parent or caregiver. The parent or caregiver is doing his or her best in a difficult situation.
  • Don’t make negative comments. Your compassion and encouragement will be your greatest assistance.
  • Don’t stare. Kind and supportive looks should be brief.  Sustained stares can make the parent or individual feel uncomfortable or judged.
  • Don’t stay. If a parent or caregiver needs your help, they will let you know.  Oftentimes crowds or onlookers can complicate the situation.
  • Don’t record it. This is a difficult and personal moment, not something to share on social media or for using to “shame” someone.