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Dos and Don'ts when Interacting with Children with ASD

Am I doing this parenting right?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a type of developmental disorder. It affects a child's ability to interact and communicate. Children can fall on any point of the autism spectrum, which is why the disorder is referred to as a spectrum disorder. (Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, n.d.)

Interacting with others can be challenging for children with ASD. Maintaining eye contact with them can be tough. They may prefer to isolate themselves and may appear uninterested in interacting with others or even connecting with family members. However, some children with ASD might be the total opposite. They might find joy in pursuing a discussion about a topic they are enthusiastic about with family members, friends, and even strangers. The concern is that they might keep going on for too long. Also, they might focus intensely and only discuss that one topic. This could potentially push other people away. (Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, n.d.)

It can be heartbreaking when you feel like you are unable to connect with your child with ASD especially when you have a close relationship with them. You and your child's relationship can benefit from understanding and learning more about these disorders and what has worked for others in their experiences.

Have a look at these dos and don'ts of interacting with children with autism to potentially encourage positive and effective interactions.


Stay positive.

Positive reinforcement generally elicits better response from children with ASD. Keep in mind to frequently praise and reward for good behavior. (Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, n.d.)

Ignore attention-seeking behaviours.

You may notice that your child engages in undesirable attention-seeking behaviours. It is common for children with ASD to engage in attention-seeking behaviours to grab your attention. Often, the most effective approach to stop undesirable behaviour is to ignore it. Additionally, as suggested in the first step, make it a point to discuss and reward the child's good behaviour frequently.

Be patient.

Information processing may take longer for children with ASD. Depending on his or her speed, you may want to speak at a slower pace. (Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, n.d.) Allow them a few seconds to respond, instead of filling up “empty” gaps in the conversation, provide an opportunity for the child to respond.


Use creative language

Children with autism frequently have a literal interpretation of events. Be as simple and straightforward as possible to make sure that the child knows what you are saying. Avoid using idioms, exaggerations, or other creative terminology when speaking to them as you could confuse the child. (HANDS Center for Autism, 2022)

Overwhelm them with Instructions

Similarly to the previous point, it is essential not to overwhelm a child with ASD when giving them instructions. Consequently, you should avoid giving them too many instructions at once or instructions that are too complicated. Instead, divide the steps into manageable chunks that children can readily comprehend and follow. (All Things ChildCare, n.d.)

Force them to interact with others

Children with ASD may be resistant to interacting with others. This is not an indication that you should pressure them. Instead, let them take the initiative and only interact with people when they are ready to. (All Things ChildCare, n.d.)

Knowing how to best support your child with ASD will help them respond more effectively in stressful situations. Positive interactions with children with autism can be promoted by practicing these dos and don'ts when interacting with them. Enroll in our ABA therapy today to help provide your child with the best assistance possible.

Written by: Hanyu


HANDS Center For Autism. (2022). The dos and don'ts of interacting with children with autism.

Stanford Medicine Children’s Health. (n.d.) Interacting with a Child Who Has Autism Spectrum Disorder.

All Things ChildCare. (n.d.) What Not to Do with an Autistic Child.

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