Of all the mental health afflictions out there, autism is perhaps the most misunderstood. First of all, it is not caused by vaccines, so if you know somebody spreading this fiction, feel free to set them straight for us.

Second, it is 100{6713ba23e05232a925818888182dfaeb6662fdf7c105b8bc21967aa35cf30fda} possible for someone with this disorder to lead a productive and happy life, provided that they are supported by loved ones throughout the course of their lives.

No, it is not easy, but with patience and empathy, real progress can made helping autistic people along the path to self-sufficiency.

Don’t think that you are alone in this endeavor, as Christopher Manente, a long time advocate for those living with autism, is fully aware of the challenges that friends and family have to grapple with when someone they love struggles with this condition.

In this post, we’ll share tips that will help make life for your autistic friend or family member an easier and happier experience.

1) They are not their condition

As with many other disorders, people have a tendency to see the condition they suffer from, but not the person that lies underneath.

Make an effort to get to know them as an individual, and bond with them through their interests. Forging a connection can be more difficult if their autism interferes with their ability to pick up on social cues, so be patient and empathetic when engaging with them.

2) Seek professional help early and often

The early years of a child’s development are the most crucial. When you are dealing with one that has autism, this statement takes on a profound importance, as breakthroughs can be had easily at a younger age that will have huge impacts on their quality of life.

Properly diagnosed, mental health specialists can provide therapies that can help build connections in the heads of their patients that will help them function better as they move towards adulthood.

3) Socialize them with other children

A tragic mistake that many adults make when dealing with special needs children is to segregate them from the ‘normal’ kids.

This is often based on the perception that they won’t be able to integrate or connect properly, or it would make them vulnerable to bullies.

While you can’t just drop them on the playground unsupervised and expect everything to be fine, preventing them from socializing at a young age will make it intensely difficult for them to learn this skill as an adult.

While things may not be perfect, we need their ‘normal’ peers to adopt a more inclusive outlook towards autistic people rather trying to shelter them from the world.

4) Help them with vocational training

Autistic individuals are NOT learning disabled; in fact, many possess a capability to perform certain types of work with a proficiency that their able-bodied counterparts would never be able to achieve.

However, their confidence can be a barrier to getting these roles, as they perceive that society holds an intensely negative attitude toward them.

By supporting them in their pursuit of an education, you be granting them the ability to make a life for themselves, rather than being doomed to a life of poverty.