11 Ways To Teach Your Autistic Child Or Student Respectfully


Over the past 25 years of being with Mohit and others, I’ve gleaned these gems.
I hold them close to my heart when I come across any autistic individual.


Today, I’d like to share them with you.


1. Always presume competence


If you don’t remember anything else I say, remember this. Your child ‘understands’ everything.

Even if he doesn’t speak, rest assured he understands.

Keep that in mind when you interact with him.


Keep it in mind, especially if you’re not interacting directly with him, but when you’re discussing him with others.


How you talk about him, will become his voice.


2. Understand learning styles


Each child learns differently.

Unfortunately, we measure intelligence in one narrow way.


But in reality there are multiple intelligences, according to Dr Howard Gardner.




Your child will give you clues about how she learns.

She may be visual, auditory, kinesthetic, musically inclined, expresses through art.


Go with your child. Not convention.


3. Don’t limit experiences


Expose your child to different experiences.


Don’t be ashamed to take him out.
Let him join you at stores, at malls, at parks and restaurants.
Don’t be ashamed of the way he stims or talks.
If you don’t accept him for who he is, who else will?


Learning is based on the experiences one has.
Limiting exposure will be detrimental to your child.


4. Find a guide to work closely with


A burden shared is a burden halved.

Work closely with a guide. You cannot see your own blind spots.


Become accountable to somebody else.
Your guide will encourage when required, be firm with you when needed and give you the clarity you seek.


The RDI Program is based on the Client Consultant Relationship, where a Certified Consultant works with the parent to enable the parent to become the best guide for his/her child.


Find more information here.


5. Build a relationship with your child


Connect with your child, do things together.


When you signed up for parent hood, it wasn’t just about ensuring your child’s physical or monetary needs were met.

Emotional needs are important too.


Time spent with your child will become her memories.

You could find suitable chores around the house to do such as loading a washing machine, preparing a snack together or doing an art project together.


Create that bond through authentic activities.


6. Work on dynamic intelligence


Every body works on static intelligence. This means there is one specific response to a question.

This is not bad in itself. But it doesn’t remediate the core deficits of autism.


On the other hand, Dr Gutstein of RDIConnect, came up with dynamic intelligence.

What we refer to as IQ is largely the measurement of the static functioning of the brain.

Dynamic intelligence is often referred to as common sense reasoning, flexible thinking, meta cognition, executive functioning and emotional intelligence.


As a group of people, individuals with ASD may not have problems with static intelligence. But they all have problems with dynamic intelligence.


Contact us to learn more about our Family Consultation Programs based on Dynamic Intelligence.


7. Slow down. Have patience


Go slow, give time to your child to come up with solutions.


Your child may be overwhelmed with all that happens around him.

Create a haven for half an hour every day to just slow down and let your child process at his speed.


Use the 45 second rule.

This means give your child 45 seconds to process or complete something you’ve asked him to.

Believe me, this is a long time.


If he doesn’t take a step in 45 seconds, you can scaffold, by helping him.




8. Don’t instruct. Demonstrate


Show. Don’t tell.


Listen to yourself talk. How many instructions do you give your child?

Cut out on instructions.


Use declarative, experience sharing language instead.

Say, “I had a wonderful day today.” Wait for your child to respond.
Don’t bombard her about how her day was, what she did, who she interacted with.


If she’s stuck with something, show her how to do it, rather than instructing her.




9. Don’t prompt. Let your child struggle


Every thing does not require a solution from you.

Let your child struggle a bit.


Be there, but don’t do it all for him.

Expect him to do it. And he will.


Watch this lovely piece of guiding by this mom, who let her son struggle with the cello tape.



10. Focus on actions and not words


Let your child show you what she knows. Don’t worry too much about her telling you.

Action is the foundation that words are built on.


Let her do it. The words will follow.




11. It’s about the process and not the product


Let him think through tricky stuff.

If you’re cooking and the hotplate or gas range is not on, let him figure it out.
Once he figures it out, let him take steps to remedy the situation.


Push the responsibility of thinking on him.

Let him make mistakes and learn from them.

We can’t learn without making mistakes.


Here’s my punch list:


Always presume competence
Understand your child’s learning style
Expose your child to experiences
Work with a guide
Build a strong relationship
Dynamic Intelligence is the Key
Slow down mindfully. Be present
Reduce instructions
Don’t prompt immediately
Actions before words
Focus on the process


The implementation of all this has been detailed in my e book: Independence For Your Autistic Child. (Available through Amazon)



For me, these 11 pointers spell R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Try them out.




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