All Children's Hospital Logo

Health Information Library

Teens > Q&A > Friends > How Can I Help a Classmate With Autism?
How Can I Help a Classmate With Autism?

Lee este articuloA kid at my school has autism and I wanna know what to do when he comes around me. I try and be nice to him but I don't think he understands that I'm just trying to be nice. I like to help kids with disorders but sometimes I don't know how. Can you help?
- Rosy*

It's great to be friendly and kind — and especially helpful to kids who might have a harder time making friends because of a disability. Some disabilities, like autism, affect a person's social awareness. The person isn't able to pick up on social cues the same way someone else might. Because kids with autism act and interact differently, they sometimes get left out or teased.

Sometimes people want to be kind and friendly, but they find that simply reaching out can be misinterpreted as wanting to be BFFs. For example, once you're friendly, maybe the person starts talking to you all the time, but you want to hang out just sometimes. You don't want to be rude, but when people have trouble with social cues, they don't know when it's time to end the conversation or give you space. Try using a simple but friendly way to end the conversation, such as, "Well, I have to go now, bye!"

A teacher might be able to give you specific tips on how to interact with your classmate. With help from teachers and support from peers, students with special needs can learn some rules for friendships that they don't know instinctively.

Don't give up. By being friendly, you're doing something important — setting an example to include and be kind to everyone. That's helpful to your classmate with autism, but it also helps everyone realize that each person is special and worth getting to know. And a person can never have too many friends.

Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: October 2013

Related Articles
T    I Have Asperger Syndrome. How Do I Make New Friends?
T    School Counselors
T    What It Means to Be a Friend
T    What Should I Know About Babysitting a Child With Autism?
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2015 KidsHealth® All rights reserved. Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and

Additional Info

Pocket Doc Mobile App
Maps and Locations (Mobile)
Programs & Services
For Health Professionals
For Patients & Families
Contact Us
Find a Doctor

All Children's Hospital
501 6th Ave South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 898-7451
(800) 456-4543

Use Normal Template
© 2015 All Children's Hospital - All Rights Reserved