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Tips For Working With Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders

The Autism Program gets tips from parents, professionals and others working in the field. If you have a tip or special trick that you use or have used in the past that you think would be of interest to others please e-mail it to:

Communication Tips

Helping your child communicate more effectively:

  • Teach communication skills that are functional and meaningful
  • Teach communication in the context of everyday activities
  • Provide multiple opportunities for communication practice throughout the day
  • Arrange the environment as necessary to create the need to communicate • Reduce stressful speaking situations by avoiding:
    • Competition for speaking opportunity o Frequent interruptions o Demand for display speech
    • Loss of listener attention
    • Frequent questions
    • Excitement when speaking

Communicating more effectively with your child:

  • Slow down when speaking with your child
  • Replace long, complex sentences with short simple sentences
  • Stress key words
  • Use other modalities to enhance meaning
  • When using spoken commands, make them simple
  • Use visual supports
  • Use object supports
  • Be consistent

General Tips

Consistency, consistency, consistency

Do things the same way with your child each time, and do things the same way with other people. Without consistency your child may become confused or discover opportunities for manipulation.

Catch ‘em being good

Whenever the opportunity presents itself, use a lot of positive reinforcement. Some children thrive on positive attention. Let them know when they are acting appropriately. If we praise good behavior we can hopefully decrease the need for inappropriate behavior.

Remain neutral and calm

Be sure not to raise your voice or show emotional reaction when your child uses inappropriate behaviors.

Use few words when addressing an inappropriate behavior

Using too many words provides unneeded attention. Keep requests simple. Tell your child what TO do rather than what not to do. Avoid using “stop” or “don’t” statements and always use a firm, calm respectful tone of voice.

An excerpt from the Resource Directory of Illinois Agencies and Their Services
A publication of The Autism Program