U of A autism expert gives advice to help you interact in a supportive way with children and adults on the spectrum—and check your own biases.
“You’ve met one person with autism, then you’ve met one person with autism.”
This saying is an important reminder among all who live and work with people with autism that each person living with the condition is indeed distinct, said Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, professor and director of the autism research centre in the Division of Developmental Pediatrics at the University of Alberta, and Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation Chair in Autism Research.
It should also be important to the rest of us, considering one in 66 Canadian children is on the autism spectrum, and rates of the neurodevelopmental condition—defined by challenges communicating in social contexts, often combined with repetitive behaviours and narrow interests—continue to rise.
“People with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are important members of the community. Chance...