The New Kid in class


I was sick yesterday so I stayed home. When I went to school today, I found that my class had a new student. We don’t sit close together, so I didn’t get to speak to her but I tried to speak to her at recess and she didn’t say anything at all.

She was sitting by herself and as the kids started coming outside and playing, she put her hands on her ears and started rocking back and forth. Some of the kids in other classes laughed and said some mean things about her. I don’t think she heard them because she was covering her ears, but I went and told my teacher right away. She told me that Karisa (that’s how I found out her name) is on the Autism Spectrum and that she might not act the same as me or the other kids but that doesn’t mean she should be treated any differently. Then she rushed out to talk to the bullies about their behaviour, so she didn’t say anything more.

I don’t know what an autism spectrum is and I want to be Karisa’s friend, what should I do?


autism trinidad tobagoDear L,

First of all, it’s so great that you told your teacher when you saw Karisa being bullied! Bullying should never be tolerated and speaking to a trusted adult when you see bullying happening is always the best thing to do.

When a person is on the Autism Spectrum, it can be a challenge to communicate with them because they do not communicate in the same way as you do. This does not mean that the person doesn’t like you- it just means that you might have to change the way you speak to them. It is harder for them to control the way they behave because their brains are made up a little differently than yours, so you will have to make little adjustments in the way you talk to them or play. For example, Karisa covered her ears because the noise of the kids playing disturbed her. It might seem fine for you, but she’s more sensitive to loud noises.

If you want to be her friend, you should try speaking slowly and clearly to her and don’t feel bad if she does not respond. Don’t touch her suddenly without asking first or speak too loudly because her senses can be sensitive. You could invite her to play in a quieter place in school, or read and hang out in the library at recess if the noise bothers her. And just treat her the way you would treat your other friends- with love and care for their well-being. To find out more information about Autistic Spectrum Disorder, you can look at some of the other articles on the website!

Best Regards,
TKC Team


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