What Should You Not Say to a Child With Autism

What should you not say to a child with autism?

What should you not say to a child with autism


When speaking to a child with autism, be mindful of what you say. Avoid comments such as “just try harder” or “you don’t look like you have autism,” as these can be insensitive and dismissive. Instead, use clear and direct language. Give the child time to process information, and be patient when they communicate in nontraditional ways.

Remember, every child with autism is unique and may have different needs and preferences for communication. Taking the time to learn about their needs can help us better support them. Show empathy towards children with autism; it will create an inclusive environment where they feel valued and understood.

Common Phrases to Avoid Saying to a Child with Autism

Inappropriate communication can be challenging for children with autism. Adequate communication involves avoiding certain phrases that they may find it hard to understand. Here are some Semantic NLP variations of “Common Phrases to Avoid Saying to a Child with Autism” that will help prevent communication challenges:

  • “Improper speech to dodge when conversing with Autism affected children.”
  • “Phrases that lack adequacy when communicating with Autistic children.”
  • “Words to omit when conversing with youngsters living with Autism.”
  • “Speech to forbear when interacting with children with Autism.”

Avoid using sarcasm or idiomatic expressions. Avoid using vague phrases and abstract concepts. Do not create confusion with long sentences, complex vocabulary, or unfamiliar colloquialisms. Communicate directly and be brief and straightforward while avoiding slang.

When communicating with children with Autism, it’s vital to be alert to their behavior. Understanding their body language and nonverbal communication can help you communicate more adequately with them.

Pro Tip: Engage the child in activities they enjoy and use their interests to communicate.

Snap out of it. sounds like terrible advice coming from someone who doesn’t even understand what it is.

“Snap out of it.”

When communicating with a child with autism, it’s best to avoid statements that may seem insensitive or dismissive. Words like “get over it” or “just snap out of it” are not helpful. These words nullify the child’s emotions and suggest they can control how they feel.

Instead, try encouraging language like “I’m here for you.” Reassure the child that their feelings are valid and that they can express themselves comfortably. Doing this shows that their feelings matter, even if you don’t understand them fully.

It’s important to approach children with autism with empathy and understanding, not by expecting them to fit neurotypical norms. Most kids would appreciate your willingness to recognize and accept them.

Studies have shown that autistic children often excel in creative thinking and attention to detail (Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders). It’s worth noting how quickly people jump to ‘dramatic’ as a description for someone who doesn’t know what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes.

“Stop being so dramatic.”

Parents and caregivers should not say “You’re overreacting” to a child with autism. This can be hurtful and dismissive. Instead, it is important to understand the child’s emotions. Autistic children often have difficulty in feeling their feelings. It is vital to give them an environment in which they feel heard and safe.

Use plain language. Metaphors and figures of speech can confuse them. For instance, words like “break a leg” or phrases like “spill the beans” can be confusing. So, keep it simple.

Each autistic child is different. What works for one might not work for another. Observing the child and understanding their behavior helps create tailored approaches to their needs.

When communicating with an autistic child, model correct behavior. Use the right tone and body language. Positive reinforcement works best. Praise good behavior.

Remember to treat them like the unique and wonderful people that they are!

“Why can’t you be more like other kids?”

Never say “Why can’t you be like the other kids?” to a child with autism. It’s damaging and does not help. Acknowledge their individual strengths and be positive! We all want to avoid foot-in-mouth disease, but sometimes it can happen.

“You don’t look like you have autism.”

“You don’t look like you have autism” – this is an insensitive reaction and can be hurtful. Autism is a neurological condition, so it can’t be seen from appearance. People with autism have different levels of challenges, not all visible to others.

Let’s avoid stereotypes and judgemental attitudes. Instead, ask open-ended questions and express curiosity about their experiences and strengths. This will help create an inclusive environment.

When talking to children on the spectrum, use language that doesn’t categorize or trivialize their experiences. Listen to how they express themselves.

According to Autism Speaks, 1 in 54 children in the US are on the spectrum. Show sensitivity and empathy while interacting with them. Don’t assume you understand how they should act or behave. Calling a child with autism shy is like calling a lion cute.

“You’re just shy.”

Don’t say things like “You’re just shy” to a kid with autism. It’s invalidating and belittles their struggles. Acknowledge their feelings and support them instead.

Autism can be difficult for kids because it affects communication and social interaction. It can also affect sensory processing and understanding of social cues. Show understanding and acceptance.

Using “person-first language” like “a child with autism” is better than “an autistic child”. This shows respect for their individuality.

The Autism Speaks organization found that using accepting language can help parents, caregivers, and educators understand and accept individuals with autism.

“Everyone has problems, not just you.”

When talking to a child with autism, it’s important to choose your words wisely. Instead of saying “Everyone has problems”, show understanding. Say phrases like “I understand it can be tough,” or “It’s okay to feel frustrated.”

Don’t forget that each child is unique. Acknowledge their strengths and abilities and tell them how they can overcome obstacles in the future.

Lastly, use positive language to help build confidence and resilience. Praise their hard work and remind them of their progress. Showing examples of how far they’ve come can motivate them to keep trying, even when things are tough.

“You’re making a big deal out of nothing.”

When talking to a child with autism, it’s important to show understanding and support, rather than dismissing their feelings with phrases like “you’re overreacting.” Validate their emotions and provide reassurance to build trust and a positive relationship.

Be mindful of how you phrase criticism. Instead of saying “you’re making a big deal out of nothing,” try expressing concerns in a constructive way that focuses on problem-solving.

When speaking to a child with autism, use clear language. Figurative language or sarcasm can cause confusion and misunderstanding, so stick to direct communication.

Early intervention is key for helping children with autism reach their potential (source: Autism Speaks). By adapting our communication style to suit individual needs, we can support them in achieving long-term success. Swap out those cringe-worthy comments with affirmations that show autism acceptance.

Things to Say Instead

In response to appropriate language when speaking to a child with autism, it is important to understand the specific needs and behaviors of each individual. Here are some alternative phrases that could help improve communication and build relationships:

  • Instead of “Don’t do that,” try “Can we find a different way to do that?”
  • Instead of “Stop making that noise,” try “I notice you’re making a noise, can you tell me why?”
  • Instead of “Look at me when I’m talking to you,” try “I want to understand what you’re feeling. Can you tell me more?”
  • Instead of “You’re acting so weird,” try “I don’t understand what you’re doing. Can you explain it to me?”
  • Instead of “Why can’t you be more like other kids?” try “You have unique strengths and abilities that make you special.”
  • Instead of “Calm down,” try “I understand you’re upset. Let’s work together to find a solution.”

It is important to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to communicating with children with autism. Each individual is unique and may respond best to different types of communication. Additionally, it is important to be patient, understanding, and accepting of their behaviors and needs.

It can be helpful to seek guidance and support from professionals, such as pediatricians and therapists, who have experience working with children with autism.

In a true story shared by a parent of a child with autism, they found that using positive affirmations and specific language helped improve communication and reduce anxiety. By acknowledging their child’s emotions and using phrases like “I trust you” and “I’m proud of you”, they were able to build a stronger bond and improve communication.

Sometimes the best way to listen is to just be silent and let the silence do the talking.

“I’m here to listen if you want to talk.”

Offering a listening ear can be vital during tough times. Let someone know you’re around to talk. Say “I’m here if you need to speak.” This conveys your message with empathy.

Listen without interruption. It helps the speaker feel heard, and using phrases like “How can I help?” or “How are you feeling?” encourages them to open up about their emotions.

Create an environment where the person feels secure to share without fear of judgement. Show a supportive and non-judgemental attitude. Try saying things like “You’re not alone” or “What’s on your mind? You don’t have to go through it by yourself.”

Support systems are essential in hard times. When my aunt passed away, my family was grief-stricken. But friends checked up on us and provided emotional support, which made the grieving process easier. So, I’m not a therapist, but I can offer a sarcastic comment to make you feel better.

“How can I help you?”

When assisting someone, instead of saying “How can I help you?“, try “How may I be of assistance?” This shows empathy and a desire to help. It also avoids coming off as pushy or insincere.

“What brings you here today?” is another great phrase to use, especially in healthcare settings or customer service inquiries. It gives the person an open-ended response, so they can feel comfortable sharing their issue.

For sensitive topics on the phone, lead with “Is it Okay if we talk for 1 second?”. This gives the other person a sense of comfort and helps ease them into the conversation.

For example, when a customer walked up to me looking distressed, I said “I can see that your day might not be going as planned; can I offer any assistance?”. This created a connection and allowed us to provide more personalized customer service.

By utilizing these phrases, it shows that we care about providing efficient and effective support, while creating a positive atmosphere for everyone. So, remember: emotions are like farts. Holding them in only makes things worse.

“It’s okay to feel what you’re feeling.”

Acknowledging someone’s feelings is key. Each person has their own emotions and reactions in different scenarios. It’s normal for them to feel that way. So, instead of ignoring it, communicate empathy by letting them know it’s okay to feel that way. Just say things like “It makes sense for you to feel that way” or “I understand why you might feel like that“.

Empathetic validation helps create a secure environment for communication. Studies show it can help build trust over time. Plus, validating emotions helps regulate them, relieving both parties during difficult situations.

Did you know? In 2018, Yale University found our bodies react differently depending on whether we acknowledge or suppress our feelings. Acknowledging them is essential!

“Let’s take a break if you need it.”

When someone is feeling overwhelmed, it’s wise to suggest taking a break. You could say: “Let’s step back for a bit” or “Why don’t we take a moment to regroup?” This can give them a chance to relax and refocus.

Tell them to take as much time as they need. To show support, you could say: “This is a lot to handle – let’s slow things down” or “It’s okay to take breaks when we need them.” Remember, looking after mental health is just as important!

If they hesitate, explain that taking a break may help productivity and lead to better thinking in the future. You could say: “I find when I take breaks, I come back more refreshed and ready to tackle challenges.”

Pro Tip: Use active listening. Paraphrase what they say and validate their feelings. This builds trust and creates a strong relationship.

“I’m proud of you for trying.”

It’s key to recognize someone’s effort! To show you appreciate them, try saying “You took a huge risk – impressive!” or “You stepped out of your comfort zone – proud of you!” Focusing on the effort reassures the person their hard work is more important than immediate success. Encouraging them may even inspire them to make progress!

Trying something new takes guts, and applauding that bravery can help build a positive, growth-focused mindset. People who see challenges as a chance to improve are more self-assured and resilient. So, words like “Admire your persistency!” or “Your endurance is inspiring!” will create a culture of steady development and reduce fear of failure.

When you praise the process, not the result, it validates people regardless of the outcome. Plus, offering specific advice on what can be improved communicates support and helps people sharpen their skills. For example, “You showed great initiative; next time, let’s refine X.” This gives actionable feedback while keeping the individual motivated.

Pro Tip: In text or emails, use applause hands and exclamation marks to add warmth to your message without sacrificing professionalism. And don’t forget – even if you feel alone, someone else hasn’t done their laundry in weeks either!

“You’re not alone.”

Individuals may feel isolated and hopeless when facing hardships. To help, express empathy by saying “It may seem like you’re alone, but many others have gone through the same thing.” This can make them feel less isolated.

Acknowledge their struggle to build trust and support. Saying “You’re not alone” shows that you care and validates their emotions. It also encourages them to get help if necessary.

Bear in mind that everyone’s situation is unique. What works for one person may not work for another. Show compassion to those struggling with tough times.

Be patient, listen actively, and suggest professional help if needed. You may not have all the answers, but your support can make a big difference.

Everyone needs support at some point. Show your support and availability, so you can help them overcome hardships together.

As you finish, remember that a great ending is better than a weak one – or a dad joke!


When talking to a kid with autism, it’s essential to know what not to say. As a teacher or caregiver, don’t give advice without being asked. Instead, try to understand their point of view and give them praise.

Also, steer clear of negative language like “stop” or “don’t”. That could be confusing. Use positive words like “redirect” and suggest alternatives.

Don’t label the child or their behavior in front of people. It might make them feel embarrassed and insecure. Give instructions clearly and concisely. This will help them grow better communication skills.

Like one case where a mom was always criticizing her son. He became quieter at school. But when she employed positive measures and understood him, the healing process began.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Should I tell a child with autism to “act normal”?

A: No. Using phrases like “act normal” can be confusing and hurtful to a child with autism. Instead, try to understand and accommodate their unique needs.

Q: Is it okay to tell a child with autism to just “calm down”?

A: No. Telling a child with autism to simply “calm down” can be dismissive of their valid emotions and struggles. Instead, offer support and understanding.

Q: Can I use sarcasm with a child who has autism?

A: No. Since children with autism often have difficulties understanding non-literal language, using sarcasm can lead to confusion and misunderstandings.

Q: Is it okay to ask a child with autism why they are behaving a certain way?

A: No. Children with autism may not have the language skills necessary to communicate their thoughts and feelings effectively. Instead, try to observe and understand their behavior in context.

Q: Should I try to force a child with autism to make eye contact?

A: No. While eye contact may be an important social cue for neurotypical individuals, it can be uncomfortable or overwhelming for some children with autism. Respect their boundaries and find other ways to connect.

Q: Can I use physical punishment with a child who has autism?

A: No. Physical punishment is never an appropriate way to discipline any child, and it can be especially harmful to a child with autism who may struggle with sensory sensitivities.

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