Helpful hints for interacting with individuals with autism


  • Use simple language; speak slowly and clearly.
  • Use concrete terms and ideas.
  • Repeat simple questions; allowing time (10-15 seconds) for a response.
  • Proceed slowly and give praise and encouragement.
  • Do not attempt to physically stop self-stimulating behavior.
  • Each individual with autism is unique and may act or react differently.


  • May be non-verbal or have very limited verbal abilities.
  • May appear deaf; may not respond to verbal cues.
  • May repeat words or phrases in place of normal communication.
  • May have difficulty expressing needs; uses gestures or points.


  • May have tantrums-display extreme distress for no apparent reason.
  • May exhibit inappropriate laughing or giggling.
  • May show no real fear of danger.
  • May have little or no eye contact.
  • May appear insensitive to pain.
  • May be sensitive to touch, sound or bright lights.
  • May exhibit self-stimulating behaviors: hand flapping, body rocking.
  • May become anxious in new situations.
  • May not understand consequences of their actions.