What Not To Do With An Autistic Child?

Last Updated on January 8, 2024 by Marjorie R. Rogers

When it comes to what not to do with an autistic child, it’s important not to let them think that autism is bad, try to “cure” them, blame every problem on their autism, punish them for stimming or meltdowns, or pretend they can’t hear you talking about them. Instead, it’s crucial to approach them with understanding and acceptance, allowing them to make choices for themselves within reason and avoiding yelling or using creative language that they may take literally.

This article will provide insight into the do’s and don’ts when interacting with autistic children, offering valuable tips on building a positive relationship and avoiding behaviors that can be upsetting or harmful to their well-being.

Misconceptions And Negative Attitudes

Avoid misconceptions and negative attitudes when dealing with an autistic child. Don’t view autism as a bad thing or attempt to “cure” them. Instead, focus on understanding their needs and offering support without blaming every problem on their condition. Avoid punishing them for stimming or meltdowns and be mindful of not talking about them as if they can’t hear.

Let Them Think That Autism Is Bad

One common misconception surrounding autism is the belief that it is something negative or inherently bad. This misconception can create feelings of self-doubt, low self-esteem, and isolation for individuals on the autism spectrum. It is crucial to emphasize to autistic children that autism is not a flaw or a disadvantage, but rather a unique and valuable aspect of their identity.

Blame Every Problem On Their Autism

Another detrimental attitude is the tendency to blame every problem or difficulty an autistic child faces on their autism. While autism may contribute to certain challenges, it is essential to recognize that every child, regardless of their neurodiversity, faces a range of obstacles in life. By solely attributing their difficulties to autism, we risk undermining their abilities and reinforcing negative stereotypes.

Pretend They Can’t Hear You Talking About Them

Autistic children are incredibly perceptive, despite potential communication differences. Pretending that they are unable to hear or understand when you talk about them can be hurtful and disrespectful. It is crucial to engage in open and honest conversations about autism in their presence. By involving them in discussions and acknowledging their thoughts and feelings, we foster a sense of acceptance and promote their self-advocacy skills.

Promoting understanding and combating negative attitudes towards autism is crucial for the well-being and development of autistic children. Let us embrace neurodiversity, challenge misconceptions, and create an inclusive environment that celebrates the unique strengths and capabilities of all individuals.

What Not To Do With An Autistic Child?

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Avoiding Ineffective Approaches

To effectively support an autistic child, it is crucial to avoid certain ineffective approaches. These include not labeling autism as bad, attempting to cure them, blaming all problems on their condition, punishing them for stimming or meltdowns, and pretending they cannot hear you talking about them.

It is important to focus on understanding and accommodating their unique needs instead.

When it comes to understanding and supporting children with autism, it’s important to be aware of the various approaches that may prove ineffective. These approaches can hinder their progress and create unnecessary stress and challenges for both the child and their caregivers. In this section, we will discuss three key approaches to avoid when interacting with an autistic child: trying to “cure” them, punishing them for stimming or meltdowns, and suddenly changing their routine.

Try To “cure” Them

Autism is not an illness or a disease that needs to be cured. It is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects a child’s social interaction, communication, and behavior. Trying to “cure” an autistic child not only perpetuates the misconception that autism is something negative, but it also places immense pressure on the child to conform to neurotypical standards.

It is important to remember that every child is unique, and embracing their autism is crucial for their overall well-being and self-esteem. Instead of trying to change who they are, focus on providing them with the necessary support and resources to thrive in their own way.

Punish Them For Stimming Or Meltdowns

Stimming refers to self-stimulatory behaviors that autistic individuals engage in to regulate their sensory experiences or express their emotions. These behaviors can include hand-flapping, rocking back and forth, or repetitive vocalizations. Similarly, meltdowns are intense emotional reactions that can occur when an autistic child becomes overwhelmed or overstimulated.

Punishing a child for stimming or having a meltdown is not only ineffective but also harmful. These behaviors serve as coping mechanisms for the child and punishing them can result in heightened anxiety and distress. Instead, focus on understanding the triggers for these behaviors and finding appropriate strategies to help the child manage their emotions and sensory experiences. Providing a safe and supportive environment can go a long way in helping them navigate these challenging moments.

Don’t Suddenly Change Their Routine

Routine and predictability are extremely important for autistic children as they provide a sense of security and stability. Abruptly changing their routine can be highly distressing and lead to increased anxiety and difficulty in adapting to new situations. It is crucial to communicate any changes in advance and provide the necessary support to help the child transition smoothly.

If changes are inevitable, consider visual tools such as schedules or social stories to prepare the child for upcoming changes and help them understand what to expect. By respecting their need for routine and minimizing sudden disruptions, you can create a more stable and calming environment for the child.

Avoiding ineffective approaches is essential when interacting with autistic children. Instead of trying to “cure” them, focus on accepting and supporting their unique abilities. Punishing them for stimming or meltdowns can exacerbate their distress, so it’s important to provide understanding and appropriate coping strategies. Additionally, maintaining their routine as much as possible can alleviate anxiety and promote a sense of security. By adopting inclusive and supportive approaches, we can empower autistic children to thrive and reach their full potential.

Communicating And Interacting Responsibly

When it comes to communicating and interacting with an autistic child, it is crucial to approach the situation with responsibility and empathy. Autistic children may have unique challenges when it comes to understanding and expressing themselves, which is why it is essential to be mindful of our actions and words. In this section, we will explore three important aspects of responsible communication and interaction: making choices, avoiding yelling or creative language, and being persistent yet understanding.

Don’t Make Choices For Them Without Reason

Allowing a child with autism to make choices for themselves within reason is an important aspect of promoting their independence and autonomy. It is vital to recognize that while they may need guidance and support, they also have the right to make decisions that affect their lives. By involving them in decision-making processes, we empower them and help develop their decision-making skills. So, instead of making choices on their behalf without reason, give them the opportunity to participate in decision-making and express their preferences.

Avoid Yelling Or Using Creative Language

Autistic children often take things literally and may struggle to understand sarcasm, irony, or exaggerated language. Yelling or using creative language can be particularly confusing and distressing for them. It is important to communicate in a calm and straightforward manner, using clear and concise language. By doing so, you enhance their understanding and create a safe and predictable environment. So, instead of resorting to yelling or using creative language, opt for clear and direct communication, which they can comprehend easily.

Be Persistent, But Understanding

When interacting with an autistic child, it is crucial to strike a balance between persistence and understanding. Autism can affect a child’s ability to respond or communicate in ways that are typical. Therefore, it is essential not to let your feelings get hurt if your child doesn’t respond or behave according to your expectations. Instead, be patient and understanding, recognizing that they may have difficulties with certain tasks or social interactions. By maintaining persistence and understanding, you can create a supportive and nurturing environment for them to thrive in.

Frequently Asked Questions Of What Not To Do With An Autistic Child?

What Upsets An Autistic Child?

What upsets an autistic child? Autistic children can get frustrated if they’re expected to do something beyond their skills, like getting dressed independently. Lack of good-quality sleep or tiredness can also trigger challenging behavior. Stressful situations and unexpected changes in routine can worsen symptoms of autism.

Additionally, certain foods and food ingredients may need to be avoided. Discipline strategies should be tailored to meet the needs of autistic children.

What Can Make Autism Worse?

Factors that can worsen autism include stress and sleep disturbances, which can increase anxiety and behavioral challenges in individuals with autism. It is important not to let them think autism is bad, try to cure them, blame every problem on their autism, punish them for stimming or meltdowns, or pretend they can’t hear you talking about them.

How Do You Discipline An Autistic Child?

Discipline an autistic child by avoiding negative attitudes towards autism, refraining from trying to “cure” them, not blaming all issues on autism, not punishing stimming or meltdowns, and not pretending they can’t hear you.

What Do People With Autism Avoid?

People with autism may avoid certain things including: – Thinking that autism is bad. – Trying to “cure” autism. – Blaming every problem on their autism. – Punishing them for stimming (repetitive behaviors) or meltdowns. – Pretending they can’t hear you talking about them.

Is It Okay To Let An Autistic Child Think That Autism Is Bad?

A: No, it is important to promote acceptance and understanding of autism rather than labeling it as something negative or bad.


To ensure the well-being and growth of an autistic child, it is crucial to avoid certain actions. Firstly, never let them believe that autism is a negative trait; embrace their uniqueness instead. Attempting to “cure” them or solely attributing any challenges to their condition should also be avoided.

Moreover, refrain from punishing them for stimming or meltdowns, as these are natural expressions for them. Lastly, always remember that they can hear you, so never pretend they can’t. By adhering to these guidelines, you can create a positive and inclusive environment for your autistic child.

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