What not to do with an autistic child when interacting with them

What not to do with an autistic child when interacting with them

When it comes to interacting with autistic children, even parents can get confused with what to do. Do you follow the same rules as when you're talking to a neurotypical child? Or, is there a special set of rules that you should be following? Well, don't worry, because today we're going to teach you all about what not to do with an autistic child when interacting with them. So sit back and learn some valuable lessons!

Do’s and don’ts when interacting with autistic children


If you're not sure how to best interact with an autistic child, here are five tips to keep in mind. 

1. Be patient

PATIENCE. It's a virtue we could all stand to learn a little more about. And when it comes to autism, it's an absolute must. Whether you're a parent, teacher, or caregiver, understanding and patience are key when interacting with autistic kids. Here's why:

Autistic kids often have trouble communicating. They might not make eye contact, or they might not respond to their name being called. This can be frustrating for everyone involved, but it's important to remember that autistic kids aren't trying to be rude or disobedient – they're just communicating in the best way they know how. By remaining patient and encouraging communication, you can help an autistic child feel comfortable communicating with you.

Always take into account that every child is different and that what works for one might not work for another. Also, it takes time for an autistic child to form attachments and build trust, so rushing things will only make the process more difficult.

2. Be aware of sensory issues

When interacting with autistic individuals, it is significant to be aware of their sensory needs. Many autistic people are sensitive to light, noise, and touch, and may become overwhelmed by too much stimulation. 

By being mindful of these sensitivities, you can help to create a calm and comfortable environment for the autistic individual. In addition, understanding the role of sensory issues in autism can help you to better communicate and connect with autistic people.

What not to do with an autistic child

3. Provide clear and concise instructions

Providing clear and concise instructions is important when interacting with autistic children for a few reasons. One reason is that it helps the autistic kid understand what is expected of them. When expectations are unclear, it can be overwhelming and confusing for an autistic kid, which can lead to meltdowns or other behaviors. 

Another reason is that it allows the autistic kid to feel in control. Having a clear understanding of what is happening can help an autistic kid feel secure and empowered, reducing anxiety and increasing cooperation. 

Finally, clear instructions can help an autistic kid learn new skills more quickly. When instructions are muddled or vague, it can take longer for an autistic kid to grasp the task at hand. However, when instructions are clear, concise, and specific, it can help an autistic kid learn more efficiently.

4. Keep your instructions short and simple

Autistic kids have difficulty understanding and processing information. If the instructions are too long or complicated, the autistic kiddo is likely to become overwhelmed and might even have a meltdown.

Instead, break down your instructions into small, easy-to-understand steps. For example, instead of saying “Please put your toys away,” try saying “Please pick up your toy car and put it in the toy box.” By keeping your instructions short and simple, you can help an autistic kid to better understand what you expect of them.

5. Use visual aids

Autistic kids tend to be visual learners. They often have difficulty processing verbal information. Using visual aids can help autistic kids understand what you are trying to say. It can also help them to remember information and follow directions. 

There are many types of visual aids that you can use when interacting with an autistic kid. You can use pictures, charts, maps, and even videos. The key is to find the right type of visual aid for the child and the situation.

interacting with autistic children


Now that you know how to talk to an autistic kid, here are 5 things you should avoid doing: 

1. Don't assume that all autistic kids are the same

It's important to remember that every autistic person is different and that there is no “one size fits all” approach to interacting with them. Making assumptions about what an autistic person can or can't do, based on preconceived notions or stereotypes, is likely to result in frustration and misunderstanding. In this sense, while some people may have problems communicating, others may have good social skills

Instead, it's best to take things on a case-by-case basis, getting to know the individual and learning what works best for them. By doing so, you'll be able to build a positive relationship that is based on mutual respect and understanding.

2. Don't speak in a loud or exaggerated voice

Many people are not aware that speaking too loud can be particularly distressing for autistic people. When someone speaks too loudly, it can interfere with an autistic person's ability to process information and can cause them to feel overwhelmed. In addition, autistic people may have difficulty filtering out background noise, which means that a loud voice can be even more distracting and confusing. 

As a result, it is important to be mindful of your volume when talking to an autistic person. Instead of speaking loudly, try to speak clearly and slowly, and give the person time to process what you're saying.

3. Don't touch them without permission

It may seem harmless to touch an autistic child without permission, but there are actually a few good reasons why this is something people should avoid. For one thing, autistic children often have sensory processing issues, which means that they can be oversensitive to touch. 

In addition, autistic children may have difficulty understanding and interpreting nonverbal communication, so they may not realize that someone is trying to be comforting or friendly when they are touched without permission. 

Finally, it's important to remember that autistic children are individuals with their own preferences and boundaries, just like everyone else. Just as you wouldn't want someone to touch you without your consent, it's essential to respect the personal space of an autistic child. If you're unsure whether it's okay to touch an autistic child, the best course of action is simply to ask.

4. Don't try to "fix" the child

There's a saying that goes, “If it ain't broke, don't fix it.” And that's definitely something to keep in mind when interacting with an autistic kid. Just because someone is different from you doesn't mean they need to be “fixed.” Trying to do so will only alienate them and make them feel like there's something wrong with them

Instead, focus on accepting them for who they are and providing the support they need to thrive. By doing so, you can help create a more inclusive world for everyone.

5. Don't try to force them to socialize if they're not comfortable

It can be tempting to try to force an autistic child to socialize, especially when they seem withdrawn or shy. However, this is not always the best approach. Autism is a neurological condition that affects social interactions and communication. As a result, some autistic people may prefer to avoid social situations altogether. 

Forcing them to interact with others can be overwhelming and stressful, which can lead to meltdowns or shutdowns. It's important to respect an autistic person's boundaries and let them decide when and how they want to socialize. Otherwise, you risk causing them more anxiety and making it even harder for them to interact with others.

How to talk to an autistic kid

How to talk to an autistic kid: Final thoughts

When it comes to interacting with autistic children, it's indispensable to remember that not everyone is the same. Each child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. However, knowing what not to do with an autistic child when interacting with them and what you can do, will help you create a great and lasting relationship with them

If you want to keep learning about autism, don’t forget to visit our blog and, if you have any questions, feel free to leave us a comment so we can chat!
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