Your reactions can make
the difference

At least 1 in 100 Australians is autistic, with many more undiagnosed. Autistic people are our family members, friends, colleagues and neighbours.
98% of Australians have heard of autism. But only 4% of autistic people think that others in the community know how to support them.
It’s really easy to make small changes to our behaviour that will help create a more inclusive and welcoming world for autistic people.
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Don’t stare

Staring at people can make them feel uncomfortable or upset.

 

Don’t judge

Autistic people can’t always change how the world impacts them, but you can choose how you react.

 

Take action

Politely ask if there is something you can do to help – but respect their right to say ‘no thanks’.

 

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Talk directly to the person

Even if an autistic person is non-speaking or doesn’t make eye contact, talking to them (and not to their carer or parent) is an easy way to show them the respect they deserve.

 

Give them time to process information

Autistic people are often aware of many more things happening around them than non-autistic people – so they might need more time to answer questions or process instructions.

 

Give them space to stim

Some autistic people repeat behaviours or movements to keep themselves calm – this is called ‘stimming’. Support an autistic person to ease their anxiety by giving them space to do things like fidgeting, rocking or talking to themselves.

 

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Make changes to the environment

Many autistic people experience sensitivity to light, sound, texture, touch, taste or smell which can cause them pain and discomfort. Adjusting light levels, turning off music and creating quiet areas can make spaces more inclusive.

 

Offer help

If you see an autistic person looking uncomfortable or in distress, you can politely ask if there’s anything you can do to help. But remember to give them personal space, and accept they may not need any assistance at all.

 

Understand their needs

The best thing you can do to support an autistic person is to get to know them. When they share information about their needs and challenges, really listen and ask how you can support them.