Getting to know Autism


With Autism Awareness Month having occurred in April, many individuals and parents still find themselves at a loss when it comes to understanding this disorder. Chantal Sicile-Kira’s 41 Things To Know About Autism explores common questions and helpful insight regarding autism. Here are a few excerpts from the book:
How do I determine my child’s educational needs?
One way of doing this is to step back from your role in the family, and watch your child for five or ten minutes every day for a couple of weeks and record your observations. Look for the following:

  • How does your child do without your help?
  • How does she respond to the environment?
  • How does she respond in a social context?

See how your child does in different developmental areas by looking at a chart such as the “ABC’s of Child Development” (
What are the effects of autism on the siblings?
The challenges of having a brother or sister on the spectrum can have both positive and negative effects on a sibling.
Here are some tips for parents of children with autism:

  • Make sure that the lines of communication are open between you and the siblings.
  • Ensure that the sibling has a private place to lock up her things.
  • Teach the sibling how to communicate and connect with her sibling with autism.
  • Make sure you save some quality time every day to spend with the siblings.
  • Teach the child with autism one or two chores, so that everyone contributes.

I am the grandparent of a child with autism. What can I do to help?

  • Learn as much as possible about autism.
  • Accept and love your grandchild for who he is, and enjoy being with him no matter what.
  • Support your children as they undertake the journey to figure out what they need to do to help their child.
  • Avoid placing judgment or blame about why your grandchild has autism.
  • For those on the less able end of the spectrum, talk to them in an age-appropriate manner.