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Caregiver Shares 3 Ways to Show Care to Persons with Autism on Public Transport

Jun 28, 2022, 10:23 AM

28 Jun 2022


Title : Caregiver Shares 3 Ways to Show Care to Persons with Autism on Public Transport
Abstract : Showing care for a person with autism on public transport can be simple — treat them as you would like to be treated.

Showing care for a person with autism on public transport can be simple — treat them as you would like to be treated.

 

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27-year-old Andreana Tay, and her sister, 18-year-old Audrey Tay, sometimes attract stares when they ride on public transport. This is because Audrey, who has been diagnosed with autism, may randomly laugh, shout, or even begin crying.

 

When this happens, Andreana takes it in her stride.

 

“It’s not like Audrey can control it,” she explained.

 

She shared with us how commuters can empathise instead of judge, and show care to both the person with autism and their caregivers, when such situations occur:

 

 

#1 Be understanding of differences

 

People with autism do not mean to intentionally disturb anyone, but behave differently because they are unable to express themselves.

 

Their caregivers are doing their best to understand how they feel and help them, and it can be discouraging when a commuter criticises the person with autism, or displays body language showing their unhappiness, Andreana shared.

 

She explained that such behaviour can be particularly hurtful as they make her feel that her sister is unwelcomed on public transport.

 

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#2 Be empathetic and respectful of their privacy

 

Imagine if you were having an emotional breakdown. It is likely that you would not want to be videoed or stared at, as this would make you feel worse or break down further. This is no different for the person with autism and their caregivers.

 

Show care by not staring, and giving them their privacy and space, or if possible, step in to offer a helping hand.

 

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#3 Don’t be afraid to offer help

 

One way to do this is to simply offer the person with autism a seat, so they will not become restless and roam around the train, Andreana elaborated.

 

She noted that the Caring SG Commuters Committee’s “May I Have A Seat Please” initiative has been useful for commuters to identify those with invisible conditions who may need assistance. However, there is no harm in simply asking if someone needs help, even when in doubt.

 

“I’m very sure that caregivers will be appreciative that you asked,” she said.

 

She related an instance when a commuter saw Audrey crying and offered them some tissue paper and words of encouragement. It may be a simple gesture, but it made Andreana feel understood and supported.

 

It does not take special skills or knowledge for a commuter to show care for a person with autism. What it does require is patience, empathy, and most importantly, “respect for one another”, she concluded.

 

 


 

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