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How to Teach Your Children to be Inclusive of Peers with All Abilities

Published on
December 9, 2019

We all know the feeling of wanting to “belong”, right? Individuals with autism often struggle with these same feelings, as it can be difficult to build relationships with their peers. Read along for a list of tips you can share with your child to help them support their peers of all abilities.

We all know the feeling of wanting to “belong”, right? Individuals with autism often struggle with these same feelings, as it can be difficult to build relationships with their peers. Some children with autism lack social skills but want to be included – just like everyone else.

Does your child have a peer or classmate with autism? Below is a list of tips you can share with your child to help them support their peers of all abilities.

1.  Be patient with your peer. Some children with autism may take a while to warm up to new friends. Being kind and considerate will help.

2.  Get to know your peer’s interests. This will help you find things that you have in common and can connect on. It may also help your peer feel more comfortable.  

3.  Respect your peer’s personal space and belongings. It’s okay to ask polite questions like, “is it okay for me to touch your toys?” or “do you like hugs or high-fives?”

4.  Be friendly and approach your peer with a welcoming smile. Smiles are inviting. They help others know that we are happy that they are around us.

5.  Offer to be a lunch buddy for your peer. Invite them to join your table at lunch, or offer to join them for some quality one-on-one time.

6.  When appropriate, help your peer with classroom assignments and instruction. Offer to partner up with your peer for group projects, and ask if they would like you to fill them in on homework assignments if they are absent from school.

While you are encouraging your child to be friendly to their peers, below are some tips that you can also implement to further your goal of being inclusive and supportive of others.

1.  Remember to invite your child’s peers of all abilities to parties and social outings. Inform parents of what they can expect at the party (i.e. loud music, menu, etc.) and offer to make accommodations if you are able to.

2.  Make an effort to build a relationship with the child’s parent. This will provide more opportunities for your child and their peer to further develop their relationship, as bonding time and play dates may arise through this. It will also create an opportunity for you to be there for a parent who may be in need of a shoulder to lean on.

We hope this list is helpful for your family while you are encouraging your child to be a source of kindness and friendship to their peers.

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