November 21, 2021

Autistic children don’t scream, hit, bite, or run away when their sensory, processing, and communication needs are met.

When that does happen, it’s not because they’re autistic. It’s because something is hurting them.

So quit trying to bribe autistic kids with rewards, which won’t help for actions outside of their control. Instead, get curious!

Is it too loud? Too bright? Too fast? Too unexpected? Too ambiguous? Too many things at once?

When I left my last job to work with autistic students, my boss wondered if I’d be okay when they blew up in my face, like he’d heard about in public schools.

The question was well-meaning, with empathy for my sensory sensitivity. But I felt confident I’d be able to notice signs of distress before that happened, and I was right.

In a year and a half supporting autistic students with well-matched accommodations, it hasn’t happened yet.

P.S. I write from my personal experience as an autistic. What I share is not a substitute for advice from an autistic medical professional. Also, some of my opinions have changed since I first wrote them.