Do you need help explaining autism to siblings? Parents of children with autism often have difficulty explaining autism to their other children. You are not alone.
This post is written in collaboration with The Innovation Press. All opinions are my own.
Explaining autism to siblings can be tricky. I suggest you break down the conversation into the following 3 topics.
3 Main Topics to Cover when explaining autism to siblings :
- What is autism?
- Different not wrong.
- Acceptance and interaction.
One of the most inspirational thought leaders who discusses her experience with autism is Dr. Temple Grandin. She has helped the general public understand autism so much more clearly. She has also done tremendous work to help animals be treated more kindly (but more on that later).
One of my favorite learning tools to teach siblings about autism and to help them connect better with their special needs sibling, is this new book : The Girl Who Thought in Pictures : The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin. In this book, while reading about Dr. Grandin, you can help your child understand what autism is. When speaking with a younger child (under 10 years old), I would recommend rather than explaining the complexities of autism, to emphasize the different ways in which individuals think.
What is autism?
People with autism tend to “think in pictures” as Dr. Grandin explains, meaning they are extremely visual and respond better to visual information that verbal information. This is Dr. Grandin’s experience and similar for many people on the autism spectrum.
Conversation prompt : Ask your child to identify a time when he or she felt alone (as Dr. Grandin explains sometimes feel alone as a child and even later as a college student in The Girl Who Thought in Pictures : The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin.)
Individuals with autism are different not wrong
This is a great opportunity to discuss difference with your child. A child with autism thinks differently but this difference is not necessarily negative, just different. You can use the book to point out that although Dr. Grandin has autism and learned to speak much later than other children, perhaps like your child with autism, she learned early to understand how animals think which influenced her whole life and career.
Conversation prompt : Help your child come up with a list of things their sibling with autism is good at.
Acceptance and interaction
Now that your child understands autism a little bit better,
Conversation prompt : Ask your child what are some of your child’s favorite activities to do with their special needs sibling? What are some new activities they could try together?
To Prepare Your Free Printable “The Girl Who Thought In Pictures” Reading Prompts and use them :
Materials you need :
- The Girl Who Thought in Pictures : The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin
- Free printable reading prompts (download below)
- Laminator & laminating sheets (We use this laminating pack at my learning center for all of our projects that require lamination!)
- Sharp scissors (to cut your reading prompt cards apart smoothly)
(We have included Amazon affiliate links for your convenience. You can read our disclosures here.)
Step 1 :
Download your free printable reading prompts.
Step 2 :
Print out the cards.
Step 3 :
Laminate the cards.
Step 4 :
Cut the reading prompt cards apart.
Step 5 :
Start sharing this fun and educational activity with your child.
Have your child prepare the reading prompt cards with you as an extra learning activity.
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