Children with autism find it difficult to interact with peers and with people familiar to them. “Normally developing children may hesitate to interact with strangers, but once they develop a relationship, they interact better," says Dr. Giuliano. “Kids with autism, on the other hand, struggle with relating to most people.” Most shy children will eventually warm up to a new situation or will feel okay if someone they know helps them adjust to it. But even a familiar face won’t reassure an autistic child. “These children might be overwhelmed, feel scared or cry in situations that other kids would really enjoy, such as a park or play area where other kids are running around and having a good time,” says Dr. Giuliano.