Family Relationship

How to Handle Relationships With a Family Member With Autism


Sometimes it might seem a bit belittling to talk about an autistic person as if it’s a chore or as if it’s harder than relating with a typical person. Truly, It’s quite challenging to bond with an autistic person. However, if they are family we don’t have that many options but to find a way around it.

A little disclaimer! All autistic people are different. So, I can’t possibly speak for everybody on the autism spectrum and it would be rare to find anybody who can. But on common ground, I will drop tips on how to handle scenarios in dealing with an autistic person. Let’s roll the drum.

  1. Ask them questions

They are different individuals and unique in their ways. They have a unique set of traits and got their likes and dislikes. Do not assume you understand their needs and wants just because it seems fit. All you need to do before making any decision for them is to simply ask. You can’t possibly assume things like “oh! Autistic people would prefer the lighting be kept low or the sound be kept low”. In general, they might be sensitive to these things, but you can’t possibly tell what they prefer due to their varied uniqueness.

  1. Be Patient

It’s no joke that it takes extra effort to deal with an autistic individual. Patience is one virtue you must possess. Living is challenging already for them. If they don’t give the expected response or behavior, don’t be frustrated. Try to be patient when they are struggling with basic things, remember they are autistic. When you’ve come to realize this, it will make our lives a lot easier, and reduce our anxiety and stress levels.

  1. Let them set their expectations

There are few propagandas about the autism spectrum that those at the higher end of this spectrum are expected to be geniuses and those at the other end wouldn’t be able to cater for themselves. But so many times, things don’t end up this way. Autism may vary throughout a person’s lifetime, where those perceived to be geniuses can have struggles and end up not harnessing their potential. Give them the room to set up their stations, and all you need to do afterward is to render your support.

  1. Listen to them

Autistic people are everywhere, and they want to share things they know just like everyone else does. No matter what the expert says about them, the best you could do for them is listen to them. It makes them feel respected, valued, and in charge of their f. Even some of the non-verbal ones do blogging so her voice could be heard.

  1. Know about Autism

Nobody is asking you to become a psychologist and understand the way autistic brains work completely. But try to do a little bit of research on autism beforehand to understand their minds. They are wired differently making things that a typical person sees as normal or slightly uncomfortable completely unbearable and extremely different for them.

  1. Involve them in your plans

Make plans and be sure to include them in those plans. This act alone can tell a lot about your intention and help strengthen your relationship because they will feel comfortable and safe around you. No one likes to be left out, the same goes for these autistic individuals. Even when they would decline an invite for an event, they would appreciate getting the invitation at least. This will give them a sense of belonging, and that they have someone who actus think about them.

  1. Communicate plainly with them

Take into mind that autistic people struggle with communication and they might not process things the way you are expressing them. Don’t use metaphors, try to be plain as possible. Research says they understand non-verbal communication more, so you might need to be honest in your expression.

  1. Do not show them Empathy

Do not let them feel you’re doing them a favor being their friend. They do not want your friendship out of pity. Their lives are challenging, they don’t need you adding to their problems. Make them feel loved.

  1. Know their Disabilities

You should be able to spot their disabilities. Some could be that they can’t keep eye contact. Knowing their disabilities will help you blend well with such individuals. It will reduce your stress level and not get you worried in the process.

Autism shouldn’t be tagged as a stigma. We can help make their lives a lot easier and more comfortable by paying attention to the little things that matter to them. Following this writeup till now is a tell you’ve made a step forward, and I hope that it helps build the relationship you desire with the autistic fellow.

About the author

Pamela Abua