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situation and we as a society need to be better about providing inclusive activities and asking how to help instead of judging.” For parents and leaders who deal with autism on a daily basis, it’s all about providing happy days and respecting the individual. Randall says that there are families who call ABOARD with stories about being asked to keep an autistic child home from a family function or holiday. She explains, “…we all behave better when we are treated with respect.” In that vein, she recommends that, overall, children with autism should be treated age-appropriately. Randall relates the story of how she once walked into a school nurse’s office and saw a 13-year-old with autism. She fist-bumped him and said, “What’s up, dog?” He smiled shyly and replied, “Nothing, what’s up dog?” The nurse was amazed, as she had been working very hard for him to say “good morning” and shake her hand. But that’s just not what 13-year-olds do right now, Randall explains. Overall, children or adults with autism should be treated age-appropriately and we should presume they are of high intelligence. Autistic children tend to be diagnosed when the demands of their environment exceed their abilities. As Randall explains, that’s a fancy way of saying that they “hit a wall.” Some babies hit a wall when they cannot show what they need, so they cry incessantly. Some toddlers ‘hit a wall’ when they cannot share and want to be in their own world, so they may hit another child in preschool or daycare. The same kinds of things can happen when kids enter kindergarten, middle school, high school, or when adults first try 74 724.942.0940 to advertise |

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