If you regularly interact with children with autism, making sure that each interaction is happy and fun is important. Here are a few tips to ensure that.
Whether you’re a parent, family member, or caregiver to a child with autism, it’s important to know how to engage with them to have a positive interaction. Not every child with autism is the same, and each has their own strengths and needed improvements. So, while there’s no one-size-fits-all technique to ensuring a positive interaction every time, here are a few things to know about interacting with children with autism.
Patience Is Key
As a parent or caregiver, you know that being patient with your kids will get you a long way—the same goes for children with autism. It’s important to be kind and flexible to show that you care. Engaging in their interests and allowing them to take their time is key to creating positive interactions.
Learn What Irritates Them
When regularly interacting with a child with autism, it’s vital that you learn what irritates them. This way, you won’t accidentally overstimulate them. Some sounds, textures, smells, colors, and lighting can make them uncomfortable and overwhelmed.
If you see your child engaging in coping behaviors like spinning, rocking, humming, or hand slapping, they could be feeling overstimulated. Try to gauge what triggers them and create a more comfortable space.
Try Not To Take Things Personal
Some children with autism are in applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy to help them learn acceptable behaviors when interacting with others or in public spaces. However, sometimes children with autism have trouble communicating, understanding social cues, or understanding what’s socially appropriate.
For example, they may avoid eye contact with you when speaking, make blunt comments, or continue the conversation with a different topic. Don’t take it personally; remember to be patient.
It’s a Journey, Not a Race
One of the most important things to know when interacting with children with autism is that it will take time. It will take time for the child to open up or become comfortable sharing their interests and lively personality. As a family member, parent, or caregiver, it’s your duty to create a comfortable environment that feels welcoming and open.