Tuesday, April 9, 2024

How To Interact With Autistic Child

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How to interact with autistic kids

By Paul Calderon

It can be challenge sometimes for children with autism spectrum disorder when it comes to meeting and communicating with other kids. Some children may experience serious attacks of anxiety, and these situations can be hard for everyone.

There are several strategies to help develop and improve social skills for children with autism. Here are five excellent ways to help parents and their children to feel more comfortable when socializing.

Signs My Autistic Child Will Talk

You may ask yourself will my nonverbal autistic child ever speak?. The answer to that question is not easy to give.

Research shows that nonverbal children of age 4 who were nonverbal until that point could produce single words and phrases without verbs.

The important thing here is to provide the right support and help to your child, suitable to their needs. If your child is babbling, or trying to convey something through their behavior, you should lean into it and practice speech exercises.

Many parents and caregivers report that they have had success with such exercises at home, along with the help of professional intervention like speech therapy.

Other Characteristics Of Autism Spectrum Disorderthat May Be Present

Characteristics other than language difficulties may also be evident during interaction opportunities and impact the communicative exchange in an indirect way. Sometimes actions or comments during an interaction may provide clues regarding the need for additional support in other life areas of the person with ASD. Sometimes knowing about other characteristics promotes more patience and understanding in the communication partner. The individual with an autism spectrum disorder may:

For insights into the language and social communication problems of children and adults with autism spectrum disorder, consider reading some of their biographies, autobiographies or novels. Selective possibilities include:

Baron, J., & Barron, S. . Theres a boy in here. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.

Grandin, T. . Thinking in pictures and other reports from my life with autism. New York, NY: Doubleday.

Haddon, M. . The curious incident of the dog in the night-time. New York, NY: Doubleday.

Wiley, L. H. . Pretending to be normal: Living with Aspergers syndrome. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Also Check: Autism Dyslexia Adhd

Final Words: Specific Lessons To Teach Respect For Animals

There are specific lessons you can teach your autistic child that are rooted in respect for animals. The important thing is to find ways to communicate the idea that animals are living creatures who need respect the same as humans do. Teach your child the following:

  • Always ask before you pet a strange dog.
  • Reach out with your palm facing up, allow the dog to sniff your hand, and do not pet its eyes, ears, mouth, or private parts.
  • Be gentle. Do not pull the tail or ears.
  • Never disturb an animal that is eating, sleeping, or taking care of its babies.
  • Do not make sudden moves or loud noises.
  • Do not disturb wild animals.
  • Never tease an animal.
  • Animals are living creatures that need food, water, and shelter.
  • Pets rely on people to take care of them.

When you use interactions in nature, at the zoo, or even in your own yard to instill these rules, you are teaching your child to respect animals. Respect is regard for the feelings and qualities of others, and as your child learns all about animals, he or she will learn how to respect them. Animals are wonderful teaching tools for all children, including those with autism.

How To Teach An Autistic Child To Respect Plants

Nursery Rhyme 10 Green Bottles

How to Communicate with kids with #Autism #Infographic

I have a visual we use for this one which you can download and make up to use . This is great to give your kids a role in the nursery rhyme. When it is time for the bottle to fall off the wall as you sing your child can pull off the bottle and make it fall. If there is more than one child they can take turns.

Here is a link if you have forgotten the lyrics to ten green bottles.

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Dr Ranj Shares Tips On How To Interact With Autistic Children

The TV doctor says knowing which tactics to use can ‘make the world of difference.’

This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small amount of money if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. All our articles and reviews are written independently by the Netmums editorial team.

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Dr Ranj has shared his tips on how to interact with children with autism and parents have agreed what a difference it makes when people try to understand.

The popular NHS paediatrician and TV doctor revealed on his Insta page he’d spent the weekend on-call in childrens A& E

He said:

‘Spent this weekend on-call in Childrens A& E. Saw an autistic little girl who was really distressed – which is no surprise in that environment, let alone when you feel unwell.’So used a few techniques that Ive learned along the way , and it made the world of difference!’Just goes to show, a bit of awareness is hugely important and so helpful.’

Dr Ranj shared the following techniques he found effective:

  • using a calm environment
  • having a familiar person present
  • finding out what they like/relaxes them
  • respecting their wishes and boundaries
  • keeping questions direct, short and simple
  • being patient, friendly and kind

He also asked others to share their tips before signing off with this positive message:

‘P.s. Being told oh, she likes you by her mum at the end of the consultation made my shift .’

Communication At Home: Autism Spectrum

There are certain activities to try at home to encourage of building communication skills for children with autism.


Encourage and motivate your child to practice communication skills. For instance, showing them their favorite toy would encourage them to ask for the toy. They will then engage in communication activities based on their interests. After this, you can give positive reinforcement.


Role-modeling is a proven technique. Speak, use gestures and facial expressions. This will encourage your child to imitate. Sit in front of your child or near them for them to be able to see your actions. Praise after using the new skill.

If your child is nonverbal, you may want to use tools, like an AAC device. This would supplement their speech. Or you could exchange picture cards to communicate, or use apps on tablets.


Provide verbal, visual as well as physical guidance to prompt new communication skills. You can, for instance, hold up picture cards saying No, thank you or Yes, please while you are giving your child food. Based on the response, you can change the food with something they like.

Allow Independent Communication

In order to avoid the child becoming dependent on the prompts, slowly remove them from the communication attempts. Wait a few seconds before using a prompt and provide the child with the opportunity to communicate without depending on them.


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When Autistic Kids Dont Pay Attention

Sometimes its harder for autistic kids to focus for more extended periods, and you end up losing their attention. Here are some quick tips on how to get them to cooperate longer:

  • Remember to call them by their name at the beginning of a conversation, so they understand you are speaking with them. Doing this helps establish a connection from the very start of your activity. It also enhances your chances of having a meaningful result.
  • When looking to engage with them, make sure you explore one of the kids favorite interests. For example, it can be a favorite toy or character. Engaging in their interests will help to continue a conversation longer.

Here Are Our Top Seven Strategies For Promoting Language Development In Nonverbal Children And Adolescents With Autism:

Motivating your child with autism to communicate
  • Encourage play and social interaction. Children learn through play, and that includes learning language. Interactive play provides enjoyable opportunities for you and your child to communicate. Try a variety of games to find those your child enjoys. Also try playful activities that promote social interaction. Examples include singing, reciting nursery rhymes and gentle roughhousing. During your interactions, position yourself in front of your child and close to eye level so its easier for your child to see and hear you.
  • Imitate your child. Mimicking your childs sounds and play behaviors will encourage more vocalizing and interaction. It also encourages your child to copy you and take turns. Make sure you imitate how your child is playing so long as its a positive behavior. For example, when your child rolls a car, you roll a car. If he or she crashes the car, you crash yours too. But dont imitate throwing the car!
  • Leave space for your child to talk. Its natural to feel the urge to fill in language when a child doesnt immediately respond. But its so important to give your child lots of opportunities to communicate, even if he isnt talking. When you ask a question or see that your child wants something, pause for several seconds while looking at him expectantly. Watch for any sound or body movement and respond promptly. The promptness of your response helps your child feel the power of communication.
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    Dont Wait For A Diagnosis

    As the parent of a child with ASD or related developmental delays, the best thing you can do is to start treatment right away. Seek help as soon as you suspect somethings wrong. Dont wait to see if your child will catch up later or outgrow the problem. Dont even wait for an official diagnosis. The earlier children with autism spectrum disorder get help, the greater their chance of treatment success. Early intervention is the most effective way to speed up your childs development and reduce the symptoms of autism over the lifespan.

    When your child has autism

    Learn about autism. The more you know about autism spectrum disorder, the better equipped youll be to make informed decisions for your child. Educate yourself about the treatment options, ask questions, and participate in all treatment decisions.

    Become an expert on your child. Figure out what triggers your kids challenging or disruptive behaviors and what elicits a positive response. What does your child find stressful or frightening? Calming? Uncomfortable? Enjoyable? If you understand what affects your child, youll be better at troubleshooting problems and preventing or modifying situations that cause difficulties.

    Dont give up. Its impossible to predict the course of autism spectrum disorder. Dont jump to conclusions about what life is going to be like for your child. Like everyone else, people with autism have an entire lifetime to grow and develop their abilities.

    Tips For Talking To Kids With Autism

    Since one of the classic symptoms of autism is a marked deficit in verbal communication abilities, a common problem for applied behavior analysts and others who work with children and even adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder is simply being able to carry on a basic conversation. Something as simple as finding out what they want for lunch or whether or not they are happy or sad or indifferent about their current school assignment can be nearly impossible to find out if you rely on normal conversational methods.

    But dont let that stop you!

    There are ways to have conversations with autistic kids and you can make them easier by keeping the following tips in mind.

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    Talk About What They Want To Talk About

    One approach that will never get you far with an autistic kid is to try to force the conversation in a direction you want it to go. At best youll get ignored at worst, theyll shut down or have an outburst.

    Obsessions are part of the syndrome and an obsession means a lot of discussion about one particular thing. You might find it boring or simple but youll find far more engagement by sticking to the topic that the child wants to discuss.

    If Speaking Doesnt Work Try Writing

    How to Help

    If you get to sticking points in the conversation, try restating what you just said on paper. Draw a picture or write the words down and show them. ASD patients tend to think visually, so even if they dont immediately understand what they just heard, they might get the same message if you put it on paper so they can see it.

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    What Is Nonspeaking Autism

    Because nonspeaking autism is not a specific diagnosis, definitions vary.

    Some people consider nonspeaking autism to mean that a person does not spontaneously speak in sentences or words that others can understand. Others consider it as the ability to speak meaningfully at times but not being able to speak at all at other times.

    Having nonspeaking autism does not mean that a person does not communicate, cannot communicate, or does not understand language.

    Some people with nonspeaking autism communicate via typing or special communication devices. The absence of speech does not mean an absence of understanding. Indeed, some nonspeaking autistic individuals write and verbally communicate in other ways.

    People should not presume that a nonspeaking autistic person does not understand speech based on their ability to speak themselves. They should also not assume that they are incompetent.

    Autism is a spectrum diagnosis, which means that a person may have a range of symptoms that affect daily life in ways ranging from mild to severe. In one area, such as verbal communication, a person may have significant difficulties, even as other abilities remain intact and other symptoms are mild.

    Nonspeaking autism affects a persons verbal skills. Some symptoms include:

    Their lack of speech does not necessarily mean that a person cannot understand language. However, there is still much that researchers do not understand about nonspeaking autism.

    In a

    Teach Your Child Overall Animal Etiquette

    When you are teaching your child how to respect animals, you will want to have many different experiences and interactions on this topic. It is important to show your child that wild animals need to be left alone because they can grow frightened.

    It is also crucial for your child to understand not to approach strange dogs. Your child should always ask the owner before gently petting the dog. Your child can learn that some animals are afraid of strangers, so it is always best to ask before you approach them.

    If your child feels scared around an animal, teach him or her to stand still and stay calm. Show your child that calm behavior will help to make an animal relax. It is always a good idea to have a healthy respect for animals. Your child may feel some of the feelings that animals feel, and he or she can learn to relate to the animal. This breeds respect.

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    How Does Autism Spectrum Disorder Affect Social Communication

    Autistic children have difficulty developing language skills. They also find it challenging to understand what others say. Nonverbal communication through hand gestures, eye contact as well as facial expressions is also difficult.

    Communication and language use of children with ASD depends on their intellectual and social development.

    Some may have very limited speaking skills, while others are not able to communicate using speech or language at all. Autistic children may also have rich vocabularies and speak about topics of interest in great detail.

    They may not understand body language, or different tones in language. All of these affect the ability of the autistic child to interact with others.

    There are certain patterns of language use and behaviors seen in children with ASD:

    Restricted/repetitive language Children who speak may say things that dont have any meaning or are not related to the context. They may be inclined to continuously repeat words. This is called Echolalia.

    Read: How to Treat Echolalia in a Child with Autism

    Uneven language development Many children with ASD have an extensive vocabulary, good memory for information they just heard or seen. Some may be able to read words before the age of five. But they may not comprehend what they have read. Their speech and language skills develop unevenly.

    Try A Picture Schedule

    How to communicate with autistic child

    A picture schedule is essentially a bank of pictures to indicate what time of the day it is. At a glance, students can see that its reading time, for example, which can reduce anxiety and give a sense of independence. Show them that after each lesson or section of the day is finished, that picture needs to be put away.

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    Dont Use Creative Language

    Children with autism take things literally. If you sprinkle your conversation with irony, sarcasm, exaggerations, or idioms, you’re bound to confuse the child.

    For example, don’t tell a child to “keep an eye on something. The child may reach for it and put the item near his face.

    Be as literal and direct as you can, so the child knows exactly what youre talking about.

    If you slip and say something unusual, dont laugh at the child for taking your words literally. Apologize for your mistake, and rephrase the sentence so your meaning is clear. Theres nothing funny about a misunderstanding like this.

    What Are The Treatment Options

    Treatment for autism focuses on therapies and behavioral interventions that help a person overcome the most difficult symptoms and developmental delays.

    Nonspeaking children will likely require daily assistance as they learn to engage with others. Therapies for nonspeaking children will focus on helping them develop language and communication skills. Where possible, healthcare professionals may also try to build speech skills.

    Treatment for nonspeaking autism may include:

    • Educational interventions. Autistic children often respond well to highly structured and intensive sessions that teach skill-oriented behaviors. These programs help children learn social skills and language skills while also working on education and development.
    • Medication. Theres no medication specifically for autism, but certain medications may be helpful for some related conditions and symptoms. This includes anxiety,depression, and obsessive compulsive personality disorder. Likewise, antipsychotic medications may help with severe behavioral problems, and ADHD medications may help reduce impulsive behaviors and hyperactivity.
    • Family counseling. Parents and siblings of an autistic child can benefit from one-on-one therapy. These sessions can help you learn to cope with the challenges of nonspeaking autism.

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