Helpful Strategies and Tips

We all want to be able to communicate effectively so that we can express our feelings, create relationships, share practical information, and for many other purposes. However, for individuals with autism, communicating with others and comprehending spoken language—as well as non-verbal communication—may present a challenge. 

Strategies for Effective Communication

  • Speak slowly and clearly
  • Allow extra “wait time” to process information
  • Use clear, concise language
  • Present information in multiple formats
  • Be prepared to guide or prompt, as needed.
  • Avoid socially challenging language, such as figures of speech or the use of irony or sarcasm. 

Strategies and Tips for Understanding Behavior Patterns

It’s helpful to remember that all behavior is a form of communication and serves a function.  The behavior may be a non-verbal tool used to gain someone’s attention, avoid or escape a situation, or an automatic response to a situation or person. 

In situations that are especially challenging, these tips may be helpful:

  • Reduce stimulation
  • Do not attempt to verbally de-escalate the situation
  • Use visuals and concise verbal directives to convey expectations
  • Do not attempt to process in the moment
  • Allow sufficient wait time between directions and expected response without additional input
  • Maintain neutral facial expression/body language
  • Offer reinforcement once child begins to comply with expectations

Additional Tips

  • Maintain a consistent schedule/ routines and plan how or when to introduce, handle unexpected changes.
  • Provide feedback about inappropriate behavior.
  • Model  or role play potentially challenging social situations in advance.