April is Autism Awareness Month

Supporting Individuals with Autism in Foster Care and Post-Adoption Contexts

- - Exerpt from Autism Society of North Carolina

Some children with autism in foster care might struggle to convey emotions to others (through language or other symbolic forms of communication), to ask questions, and to get affirmation that they need in order to feel more secure and calm.

It is also critical that we look at challenging behavior through the right lens. In the midst of meltdowns and tense moments, here are just a few guidelines:

  • It’s not personal, even if it feels that way.
  • Avoid characterizing behaviors in overly simplistic (he is just trying to get attention) or subjective terms (she is trying to manipulate me; he wants to get under my skin).
  • Consider both the immediate events that may have triggered the behavior, and also consider the underlying factors and history that play a critical role.
  • A few reflection questions:
    • What is the child communicating in this moment and through this pattern of behavior?
    • What is the unmet need, fear, or confusion that this behavior(s) expresses?
    • What skills do we need to teach so that s/he can better communicate, self-advocate and/or cope next time?
    • What strategies and accommodations do we need to proactively and consistently apply to support this child’s needs?
  • Remain the calm in the storm. Try to avoid emotionally reacting to the behavior itself. In this moment, the individual is struggling to cope, they may need us to help them regulate, and they need us to be steady.
  • Validate their feelings using rationed language and non-verbal signals that they will understand.
  • Be present for them but give physical space as needed and when safe to do so; and give them time, without placing any demands, and without too many instructions/questions.

More Interesting Facts…

About 28 percent of people on the Autism Spectrum are left-handers compared to 10 percent in the general population. Learn more.

There are more people with Autism today that in the 1990’s. In 2002, 1 in 150 people were diagnosed with Autism; in 2020, 1 in 100 people were diagnosed with Autism. Learn more.

People with Autism are more likely to be transgender; there is some evidence to show a link between gender dysphoria and autism. Learn more.

Fun Fact…

Tom Stoltman is a person with Autism. He won the World's Strongest Man in 2021 and attributes his success to his Autism, stating “Autism is a Superpower.”
Learn more.

Ten Communication Tips When Talking to Someone with Autism

  1. People with Autism have difficulties with non-verbal cues,
  2. People with Autism often take things literally and have a hard time understanding implied messages and sarcasm,
  3. Clarify information if it has been misunderstood by the individual with Autism; be direct, not rude,
  4. People with Autism can be very blunt; snapping at them for something they didn’t know or mean won’t help the situation,
  5. Try not to speak down to or patronize someone with Autism; speak to them as you would a peer,
  6. Try to avoid shouting, getting close to whisper, or touching; people with Autism can be extra sensitive,
  7. Do not expect eye contact as people with Autism struggle with this; they are still listening, though they might not be looking at you,
  8. People with Autism tend to discuss their favorite topics and have difficulty transitioning topics; this can make their interactions less stressful for them,
  9. People with Autism may not act excited or upset by your news, they process information differently; do not assume that they are without empathy,
  10. Be patient. People with Autism see the world through a different lens than most of us.

Some Celebrities with Autism

  • Daryl Hannah
  • Anthony Hopkins
  • Dan Ackroyd
  • Tim Burton
  • Temple Grandin
  • Elon Musk
  • Courtney Love
  • Albert Einstein
  • Charles Darwin
  • Jerry Seinfeld
  • Gretta Thunberg
  • Bobby Fisher

Nevada Autism Resources

Nevada’s Autism Treatment Assistance Program (ATAP) was created to assist parents and caregivers with the expensive cost of providing Autism-specific treatments to their child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Families for Effective Autism Treatment (FEAT) is a non-profit organization of parents and professionals, designed to help families with children who have received the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), including Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), or Asperger’s Syndrome, offers various programs and events in Las Vegas.

Autism Coalition of Nevada is dedicated to helping children, youth and their families who struggle with Autism by providing advocacy at the Nevada State Legislature, financial assistance to facilitate early diagnosis and therapeutic interventions, treatment, support services, and medical care, and to raise awareness about Autism by providing community educational training and services.

About Us

Nevada's Just in Time Training is a web based service program designed to connect foster parents, kinship or other caregivers with training, peer experts and other resources. Questions are answered and practical solutions to care for children are discussed - all from the comfort of your home or office.


If you have difficulty accessing any material on this site, please contact us in writing and we will work with you to make the information available. You can direct your request to JITSupport@USF.edu.

Nevada's Abuse Hotline

1-(833) 803-1183