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.