About Autism

Information for kids who know a friend with Autism.

LIU #18 Autistic Support Classroom

What is Autism?

Autism is a developmental disability that affects more than 500,000 people in all parts of our world. Children with autism may have a different way of seeing, hearing or feeling things. They can be black or white, rich or poor, tall or small. More boys seem to have autism than girls, although both boys and girls have autism. They might go to your school, live in your neighborhood or swim at your pool.

Children with autism have difficulty communicating with others. Some children with autism have trouble talking. There are some people with autism who don't speak at all, others who speak sometimes, and some who talk just like you. Some kids with autism cannot speak, so they learn to use computers or pictures to tell people what they want or how they feel.

You may hear a kid with autism repeat a word or phrase that someone else said to them. They often don't ask for what they want or need... or talk about their feelings.

Kids with autism may act a little different from other kids or act like they can't see or hear people.

Kids with autism might go to your school or church, live in your neighborhood or swim at your pool.

Sometimes, kids with autism may do other things that seem different-- like rocking their bodies back and forth, flicking their fingers or making noises.

It's not easy for children with autism to make friends, because they may act differently. But everybody is different! That's what makes being friends with other kids more fun. You can learn a lot from each other.

Some kids with autism have special diets, because they can't eat wheat (like pretzels and cupcakes) or dairy (like milk and ice cream). But, they have their own foods which are yummy, too-- and staying away from the other foods make them feel better!

How can I help my autistic friends?

You can help your friends with autism to talk better and learn games by playing with them and showing him how to do things at school. They may be in a classroom like yours all day long with a special helper, or only come into your class for part of the day.

Sometimes kids with autism have a hard time figuring out the rules of a game. They might not understand how to play, but you can help them. Sit down next to your friend with autism and help them learn the rules. Then, they can have fun, too! It takes longer, but they still can learn to play like you do.

You might have to ask them a question several times before they answer or you may have to look at their picture cards. Be patient, though. Being a good friend always pays off!

Can Autism be Cured?

That's what we're working on. Around the world, scientists are doing research to find out what causes autism and how to help kids and grown-ups who have it.

Nobody knows what causes it yet, but hopefully we will in the future. The children who have autism can be helped to grow up like other kids. By getting lots of help from therapists, teachers, family and friends, they can join more and more in the world. They have feelings and care for others.

This information was taken from the pamphlet that was developed by S.A.F.E., (Supporting Autism and Families Everywhere). Information provided by the Autism Society of America and funding provided by the Coalition on Autism

S.A.F.E., Inc.,
475 S. Franklin Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702-3754
570/822-7259 (phone)
570/740-1105 (fax)
S.A.F.E. Toll-free 1-877-510-7233
Milford Chapter 717/296-6921
Schuylkill Chapter 717/889-5459
Local Resources

Children Service Center

Luzerne County, (570) 825-6425

Scranton Counseling Center

Lackawanna County, (570) 348-6100

Tri-County, Human Services Center (570) 282-1732
Human Service Consultants Management, Inc.

(570) 714-2350

Wyoming Valley Health Care System, (570) 829-8111, ext. 3050
Luzerne Intermediate Unit 18

(570) 287-9681

Luzerne/Wyoming County Early Intervention,

1-800-816-1880 or (570) 826-3030

Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit 19(570) 876-9200
Northeast Counseling Services

(570) 455-6385 or (570) 735-7590

Scott Myers, M.D..

Neurodevelopmental Pediatrician

S.A.F.E.'s Medical Director

100 N. Academy Ave.

Danville, PA 17822

(570) 271-5600

St. Joseph's Center

1-800-786-6346 or (570) 342-8379

Allied Services, (570) 348-1300
John Heinz Institute, (570) 826-3800
Special Kids Network, 1-800-986-4550
Early Intervention Program Hazleton Area

School District, (570) 454-1870 (Hazleton) or

(570) 826-0850 (Wilkes-Barre)

Coalition on Autism

31 W. Market St.

Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701

(570) 829-0519