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Teach your children about autism

By Nancy Werteen, Anchor / Reporter, NWerteen@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 14 2013 07:02:38 AM CST
Updated On: Mar 04 2013 10:55:57 AM CST

Teach kids about autism

EMMAUS, Pa. -

If you're a parent, you know some issues aren't always easy to explain to your children.

In today's world, your child will meet another child with autism. What will you say about the condition? How will you explain it to your child?

Autism advocate Eileen Crompton is a learning support teacher at Lincoln Elementary in the East Penn School District. She's used to talking to kids about autism. She says parents need to educate themselves so they can education their children.

"It's almost like a child with a peanut allergy. We need to let the children know what to expect," Crompton says.

She says children with autism process information differently. And while it may be difficult for them to communicate, they still want to make friends and enjoy other people.

Blake Barbarics is a freshman at Emmaus High School and has autism.

He says, "People should just like me for who I am and not look at my disability like I am any different from anyone else."

But it's been a long road for Blake to get to the place he is today. His mother, Karen Barbarics says when he first started school at 5 years old, he was so disruptive, she went from doctor to doctor looking for an answer.

Now she has two children on the autism spectrum and she says the best gift another parent can give her is acceptance and tolerance.

Karen says," I think a lot of parents, their first reaction is pity. We're not looking for pity, just acceptance." Blake agrees with his mom.

"The biggest thing people don't get that they're people just like you and I.  Everyone's different, whether it's a disability or not, you should still look at them for who they are," Blake adds.

Crompton says parents should turn to the internet to get more information. She says they should know that a kid with an autism spectrum disorder might:

-- have trouble learning the meaning of words
-- do the same thing over and over, like saying the same word
-- move his or her arms or body in a certain way
-- have trouble adjusting to changesL like trying new foods, having a substitute teacher, or having toys moved from their usual places

She says you should use literal language as it can be difficult for a child with autism to understand humor and innuendos.

To learn more, go to: How to Talk to Kids With Autism.