There is no right way to play: How a recent article in The Conversation missed the point

The topic of Autistic Play is something that I am really passionate about.

Phrases such as “There is no right way to play” have become more prominent in recent years as advocates from the Autistic community have argued that the play of Autistic children should be accepted as valid and legitimate rather than being seen as yet another skill deficit that needs to be addressed.

So, you can imagine my joy at seeing an article in The Conversation titled “Don’t forget play – 3 questions can help balance fun with supports and therapy for autistic children.” 

The article describes the new National Guidelines for working with Autistic children by the Autism CRC and highlights the power of play-based supports and the need for a balance between therapy and play.

This in itself is fantastic. I am a fan of the new guidelines and can see the potential for a big shift to neurodiversity affirming supports for Autistic children.

What the authors missed, however, is the true essence of play and the potential benefits of allowing all children, including Autistic children, to play in whatever way they choose.

Play, by definition, is widely considered to be chosen and led by the child, internally guided by thoughts and ideas, enjoyable and engaged in while in an alert but regulated / non stressed state. There are also many different types of play including construction, cause and effect, rough and tumble, imaginative, messy / sensory, and role play.

While it is widely recognised that during early childhood, Autistic individuals often display differences in the development of pretend play when compared with their neurotypical peers, there is actually very little information available about what natural play development looks like in Autistic children. 

Many assumptions are made about the intention and motivation of Autistic children based on what their play looks like according to neurotypical standards, instead of considering internal processes and play from an Autistic point of view. Just because an Autistic child’s play looks simple or repetitive from the outside, doesn’t mean it isn’t meaningful to the individual and beneficial to their development.

Autobiographical reports and limited research suggest that Autistic children engage in more sensory based play, tend to base play scripts on experiences and memories, and engage in social play differently to their neurotypical peers. But there is no evidence to suggest that this play is in any way less important for the child’s personal development than the play of other children. Why then, is there still a focus on Autistic children having difficulty playing in ‘traditional’ ways instead of focussing on giving them the freedom to play their way.

What message are we sending Autistic children when we are insisting that their play isn’t right and they need to be taught to do it differently?

I was pleased to see that the authors did acknowledge that Autistic adults are challenging the way clinicians work with Autistic children and encouraging them to accept each child’s way of playing. But they didn’t expand this observation to highlight its importance both in therapy and when a child has an opportunity for free play, and so the point could easily be missed.

If we are truly going to suggest that practitioners work with Autistic children in ways that “honour their childhood”, then we need to accept Autistic play as the meaningful and joyful activity that it is. 


A link to the original article from The Conversation:

Don’t forget play – 3 questions can help balance fun with supports and therapy for autistic children.

For more discussion of Autistic play see:

The Little Black Duck

”Don’t change Autistic Play. Join in.”

“Autistic Play is Appropriate Play.”

Why Social Skills Training has to go!

In the 15 years that I have been a Psychologist and worked with children and families, one of the most common goals set for Autistic and other Neurodivergent children in therapy is to improve social skills. 

This push for Neurodivergent children to improve their social skills has come in part from the diagnostic criteria for Autism which describes deficits in social communication and interaction as a defining feature, so there is an automatic assumption that any Autistic child needs to have help with social skills. In addition to this, parents see their children being left out or struggling to interact with peers, or Neurodivergent children themselves feel that making friends is hard for them, and the solution offered is for the child to learn the social skills they seem to be lacking.

While the motivation for this therapy goal is usually well meaning – parents and professionals want children to feel like they belong, make and maintain friendships and connect with people in different settings through conversation – the underlying premise is that Neurodivergent children need to learn how to socialise like Neurotypical children so that they can fit in.

To fulfill this need for improving the ‘impaired’ social skills of Autistic and other Neurodivergent individuals, professionals and academics have created numerous social skills curriculums ultimately designed to teach Neurotypical social skills to Neurodivergent children – I even created one myself a few years ago! But as the wonderful Maya Angelou said “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” And now I know better.

The problem with many of these curriculums is that they suggest that there is only one ‘right’ way to interact socially with others and that doing it differently is wrong and unacceptable – when in reality there are big differences in the way that people socialise even within the Neurotypical community. Then when Neurodivergent children are taught the ‘right’ way and use these skills in social interactions, they sometimes find that they are rejected because they are using the skills in a rigid way or have difficulty applying them in the moment, or they might experience significant emotional distress over time due to pretending to be someone they are not when they are with others (e.g. masking).

Recent research now shows us that Autistic social skills are just different to the norm, they are not actually impaired. In other words, there appears to be a cultural difference between the way Neurotypical and Neurodivergent individuals communicate and interact socially. When individuals from two different cultures socialise, it can sometimes seem awkward because each individual has different social understanding and expectations. This can also be true of interactions between Autistic and Neurotypical individuals. It is not the Autistic individual’s ‘impairment’ that makes the interaction awkward, it is instead likely to be a mismatch in communication and social interaction styles, and it can be overcome by increased understanding and acceptance of cultural differences from both individuals. It also makes sense then that when two Autistic or Neurodivergent individuals socialise, they are likely to find their interaction more comfortable because their communication and interaction styles are culturally aligned.

Now, it is important to note that this does not mean that Neurotypical and Neurodivergent individuals can’t socialise and be friends – we make friends with individuals from different cultures all the time! But to do this we need to change the narrative around Neurodivergent social skills from being ‘wrong’ to being ‘different’ and be accepting of those differences. 

This change in narrative needs to happen in two ways:

1. By helping Neurodivergent individuals see that they don’t have to change who they are to socialise and make friends, and that there is nothing ‘wrong’ with the way they communicate.

2. By educating children about the different ways that individuals communicate and socialise and to promote acceptance and understanding of those differences.

How are Social Groups different to Social Skills training?

The Social Groups that we run at my practice aim to provide a safe space for children and adolescents to connect with peers around areas of common interest. 

Having themes for the groups such as Minecraft, Lego, Baking and Slime provides the opportunity for the children attending to communicate and connect around a shared interest, reducing some of the anxiety around meeting new people and allowing them to socialise as much or as little as they want to while engaging in activities they enjoy.

Of course, we do discuss with the children what guidelines we might want to have in place to keep everyone safe and happy, with rules such as ‘no put downs’ and ‘hands, feet and objects to yourself’ being common place. But, what we don’t have is expectations around eye contact, sitting still, or staying on topic, or preconceived ideas about what having fun and being connected might look like. 

We do not insist that the children complete specific learning tasks, practice specific social skills, or blindly comply with our directions. Instead, we create an environment where children can play, create, connect and communicate in their own ways, with allied health staff present to offer support and guidance when needed. This support might take the form of encouragement to ask a peer for help, brainstorming with a child to problem solve a challenge or conflict, or using distraction and humour and a quiet space to help a child regulate and prevent a meltdown. Staff are not there to ‘instruct’ children on how to socialise, but to provide perspective, an opportunity to collaborate, and their unconditional positive regard.

When we provide children with the space and opportunity to be with likeminded peers doing something they love, an amazing thing happens – they find ways to connect. The more skilled and knowledgeable children help the inexperienced group members. The confident children encourage the anxious ones. They share ideas, facts and tips, or sit quietly and absorb what is happening around them. There are mistakes, misunderstandings and conflict too, but the children figure out their own solutions or staff are there to gently assist. 

These are not children who need to learn how to be social, they need the confidence to be themselves and to connect with others who accept them for who they are. 

Then what do we do to help children when they say they are lonely and want to make friends?

When Neurodivergent children are aware of their differences and want to connect with their Neurotypical peers, there are many things we can still do to support them to better understand themselves and their peers. But what we don’t do is teach them to act like Neurotypical children.

We can assist Autistic children to understand their own unique communication style, how they express emotions, what causes them stress and what helps them feel better, and what belonging, connection and friendship means to them. Through helping them better understand their thoughts, feelings and experiences, they can begin to advocate for themselves in relationships with peers, and seek out connections that meet their needs.

Then we can support children to understand how Neurotypical people think, feel and communicate, and support them to consider the needs and perspectives of others when they are interacting with peers. This does not mean that a child has to act in a particular way, rather they are helped to understand the perspective of their communication or their social partner so they can make a choice about how they approach the situation.

It is important to note that throughout this process, we must acknowledge the feelings and perspectives of Neurodivergent children as real and valid. For example, we don’t tell children that they shouldn’t be upset about something, or that their reaction was inappropriate for the problem they were facing. We acknowledge their experiences, support them to understand what is happening in their bodies and brains, and problem solve with them to hopefully help them reduce the likelihood of distress in the future. The flip side of this is to acknowledge and accept that for Neurodivergent children, happiness and connection may look different. A Neurodivergent child may be content to be with friends in the classroom but need alone time at recess and lunch to reset, or consider the online friends that they have never physically met as real friends, or feel happy and accepted playing alongside their friend on the Xbox and not talking. 

Whether in a social group or attending individual therapy, by supporting Neurodivergent children to meet their own social goals while being true to themselves, we can help them build confidence to seek out people and experiences that will meet their social needs, whatever they may be. 

A final note:

Now, you may have noticed that so far all the support mentioned focusses on the Neurodivergent child, and you may be thinking – “Shouldn’t Neurotypical children be learning about Neurodivergence?”

The short answer to this question is a resounding YES! But it is complicated by the fact that Neurotypical children who have good Neurotypical Social skills don’t seek out support to learn about the ways other individuals communicate. I think this is where schools can help, but I will have more to say about that in another blog!

Removing the word ‘should’ from our vocabulary when it comes to our kids.

He should be able to pack his bag on his own.

She should know not to jump on the couch.

I shouldn’t have to tell him to get dressed in the morning.

We change over readers every day, she should just do it when she comes into class.

He should know better than to throw things when he is angry.


Do these comments sound familiar?

I think parents and teachers everywhere can relate to the frustration of having a child that just won’t do what we think they are capable of doing. But why aren’t they consistent with what they can do? And why does it bother us so much?

While it is important to have expectations of our kids, to challenge them and teach them to be responsible and independent as they get older, we seem to be in a hurry for children to grow up and do things for themselves. Then we become upset or disappointed when they don’t meet our expectations.

Don’t get me wrong. There are certainly some skills where we seem to be more open to accepting mistakes and setbacks. Toilet training is one of these skills. When a child is learning to use the toilet, we expect that there are going to be accidents while they learn to recognise the signs that they need to go, and get to the toilet on time, as well as mastering associated skills such as being able to pull their pants up and down and using the tap to wash their hands. We even expect that after they are reliably trained, there might still be the occasional accident, and that’s alright.

Why, then, do we not expect children to make mistakes and have setbacks with their other skills and behavior? And why do we often view those setbacks as deliberate actions rather than unintentional errors? Just because a child has shown us they can do something, doesn’t mean that they can do it successfully all the time.

When we get caught up in what a child should be doing, we lose sight of what they are telling us they need. Instead of becoming frustrated, we can be curious about what we can do to help a child succeed. We can still encourage a child to do things for themselves, and ask them to complete tasks independently, but not keep expecting them to do something because we think they should be able to do it, especially when they consistently struggle.

Being more flexible with our expectations of what our children can do on any given day, and focusing on how to help them rather than on what they should be doing, doesn’t just help our children, it gives us permission to do what we need to do to make things easier for everyone instead of feeling the need to teach a lesson or prove a point.  For example, if you are encouraging your child to be independent in getting dressed for school and you know they have the skills to do it, but they are always getting distracted in the mornings and making everyone late for school, you could put aside a few minutes to be with them and help them get dressed quickly instead of getting frustrated with them every day for taking too long. This will help your child succeed in completing the task and relieve your frustration in them not getting it done quickly, making for a much calmer morning for everyone.

Here are my tips for letting go of the ‘shoulds’ and helping our children do the best they can:

Meet them where they are.

We know all children are different, but it is difficult not to compare when siblings and classmates are doing things that your child is not. Unfortunately, when we compare a child with others, we may develop expectations that are out of reach for an individual child. It is important to consider what skills your child has and what they can do right now, and use that as a starting point for further development. Supporting your child’s independence within their current capabilities helps build confidence, then you can support them to develop the skills necessary to continue to achieve.

Identify barriers to learning.

There are many factors that can impact on a child’s ability to acquire skills and be more independent as they grow. For children with diagnosed disabilities such as Autism and ADHD, common areas of difficulty are widely known and understood, and are more likely to be considered when forming expectations of behavior. However, typically developing children can have similar difficulties that may not be identified or acknowledged, leading to our expectations of behavior being unreasonable. Problems with executive functioning, emotional regulation, memory and sensory processing can all affect a child’s ability to complete tasks and manage their behavior appropriately. If we are aware of these difficulties, we can support children to overcome or accommodate them effectively.

Consider what is required for success.

How much help is too much? As adults we sometimes need help with tasks that we can usually complete on our own, and children are no different. When children show us they can do something on their own, like getting dressed, we are often then reluctant to give help because they should be able to continue doing it on their own. But there are many things that may impact a child’s ability to do things on any given day including tiredness, disinterest, illness, and distraction. Being aware of what assistance your child may need and putting these things in place, whether it be visual schedules, lists, rewards charts or physical assistance, and being willing to give more help when required, will support your child to develop their skills and be successful in their efforts.

Remember that children usually want to do the right thing.

It is my experience that children overwhelmingly have good hearts, and really do want to do the right thing, but they are not always good at making the right choices or controlling their behavior when they need to. For parents, this poor decision making or lack or impulse control can be easily interpreted as a child deliberately ignoring instructions or trying to upset you. However, children are more often concerned with their own needs instead and may not be able to consider their actions until it is too late. When we take a child’s behavior personally, we are bound to be disappointed and frustrated when they do not meet our expectations, and our children in turn may feel that they can never do anything right.

Accepting that our children will have setbacks and make mistakes, being there to support them when they do, and helping them find ways to do things better, does not mean that we don’t encourage them to develop independence and responsibility. It means that we adjust our expectations and acknowledge they are human and wonderfully imperfect just like us.

Executive Functioning Difficulties in Children and How To Help


Does this sound like your child?

  • They have difficulty getting ready for school in the morning?
  • They get distracted if you give them more than one instruction at a time?
  • They constantly lose things like school hats and notices?
  • They can’t stop themselves lashing out when frustrated?
  • They try to solve problems the same way every time, even though it doesn’t work.

If any of these things sound familiar, then your child may have difficulties with executive functioning.

The term ‘executive function’ is used to describe a group of skills that help us to regulate learning, emotions and behavior. These skills are commonly said to include organisation and planning, task initiation, response inhibition, working memory, emotional self-control, flexibility and focus, and are thought to be mainly under the control of the part of our brain called the frontal lobe which is involved in higher level thinking and processing.

Many children with conditions such as Autism, ADHD and learning disorders have deficits in executive functioning, but deficits can also be present in the wider population. These difficulties can have a big impact on their ability to complete everyday tasks and manage at home, school and out in the community.

If your child has impairments in one or more of these skills below, there will be many tasks they are expected to complete throughout their day that may prove difficult, leading to frustration in both themselves and the adults in their lives. The good news is that there are many things we can do to support children to manage their executive functioning challenges and improve their skills.

To understand why executive functions are important, let us first consider how each of these functions help us in our daily lives, along with some suggestions about how you might be able to support them.

Organisation and Planning
We use these skills to think ahead to situations or events and know what items we might need to prepare or take with us, consider what we need to complete tasks effectively, and keep our belongings in an ordered way so they are easy to locate and use when needed. A child with difficulties in these areas may continually forget to put their reader in their bag for school, struggle to gather the materials needed to be ready for a spelling test, or have a bedroom that always looks like a hurricane has just been through it.

How you can help your child with Organisation and Planning:

  • Use labels or pictures of items to indicate where they belong (eg. Labels on drawers for clothes, toys or school items).
  • Colour code materials for specific subjects at school.
  • Make checklists for items to go into your child’s schoolbag each day.
  • Use a visual schedule for the steps involved in getting dressed in the morning.
  • Provide an example of what the final product or a task will look like to assist with planning and expectations (e.g. a completed poster in science, or a photo of the bedroom with everything in its proper place).

Task Initiation
We use this skill to understand how to begin or get started on a task such as writing an essay, cleaning up the toy room or getting dressed, and to physically engage in that task. A child with difficulties initiating tasks may still be standing staring at the toys on the floor 15 minutes after you asked them to pack up, or spend all of their literacy block staring at a blank page because they’re stuck on the first sentence of an essay.

How you can help your child with Task Initiation:

  • Use visual supports (e.g. pictures, timers) to indicate the start of a new task or transitions.
  • Break down tasks into manageable pieces and teach the child how to do this themselves as they grow older.
  • Provide examples of the first step in a task to assist a child to get started (e.g. ‘sentence starters’ for writing tasks, or picking up all the Lego first when tidying the play room.

Response Inhibition
We use this skill to stop ourselves engaging in behavior that may be inappropriate or unexpected, even when our first impulse might be to do it. A child with difficulties in this area may repeatedly touch his sister’s computer even after being told not to on many occasions and being aware of the consequences, or start playing with his trains when he knows he has to get ready for school.

How you can help your child with Response Inhibition:

  • Teach self-control using games that involve turn-taking and waiting, or require some thought and strategy before taking a turn (e.g. jenga, UNO, kerplunk).
  • Explicitly teach the child what you want them to do in specific situation and introduce rewards or incentives for acting appropriately.
  • Teach sequences or routines for checking their own work for mistakes if they tend to try and complete work as fast as possible without considering their responses.

Working Memory
We use this skill to take in information, hold it in our head for a short time, and manipulate it to produce a particular outcome or result. Children with difficulties in this area may get easily distracted when given multi-step instructions, completing the first or last part but forgetting the rest, or frequently lose track of what they are reading and have to read the same passage multiple times before they can move on.

How you can help your child with Working Memory:

  • Use colour and pictures to aid memory.
  • Use melody or rhythm to help remember information.
  • Provide instructions both verbally and visually.
  • Break down multi-step tasks or instructions into manageable pieces, and present each step separately.
  • Provide visual checklists, task cards or reminders to assist the child to be independent.
  • Do something interactive or reflective with new information to help lock it into long- term memory.
  • Teach and encourage techniques such as mnemonics to help remember sequences of information (e.g. Never Eat Soggy Wheatbix for North East South West).

Emotional Self-control
We use this skill to regulate our emotional responses and behavior to ensure our emotions are not displayed in inappropriate or unexpected ways, and to stay in control when experiencing different emotions to allow us to continue task. Difficulties with emotional self-control are often displayed as reactions that seem excessive or out of proportion to an event such as screaming and throwing things when told they need to wait for a turn on the computer, becoming distressed and refusing to continue a task because a mistake has been made.

How you can help your child with Emotional Self-Control:

  • Help the child understand different emotions by labelling them in themselves and others and highlighting the physical changes that occur when we experience emotions (e.g. heart beating fast when angry or anxious).
  • Teach appropriate behaviours to engage in when experiencing strong emotions to assist with developing control and calming down (e.g. using break cards, using a tent in the classroom, introducing sensory activities that are calming).
  • Support the use of cognitive strategies such as identifying size of different problems to assist with managing emotional reactions.
  • Practice calming strategies such as deep breathing and visualisation when a child is calm, so they can readily use them when needed.

We use this skill to engage in effective problem solving by considering alternative solutions and being open to change. When a child has difficulties with flexible thinking, they may, for example, continue to try and open the packaging of a new toy with brute force and become more and more upset and frustrated, instead of asking for help or considering using scissors to get it open.

How you can help your child with Flexibility:

  • Support the child to consider alternative possibilities or solutions to different situations using flow charts and visuals to illustrate actions and outcomes (e.g. what would happen if ….?)
  • Play games that require problem solving or alternative ways of using common objects to illustrate possibilities (e.g. brainstorm the different uses of a metal rubbish bin – robot costume, drum, bird bath)
  • Encourage the child to predict what might happen next in books, tv episodes, or movies to help them consider different possibilities for choices characters might make, and discuss alternate actions and outcomes (e.g. what if Buzz and Woody had just given up when they were with Sid instead of trying to make a plan to get home to Andy? (Toy Story)).

We use this skill to attend to important information in our environment and disregard distracting or irrelevant information to enable us to complete tasks or take in information effectively. A child with difficulties in this area may become quickly and easily distracted when they are supposed to engaging in a task, requiring constant adult prompting to concentrate and complete an activity, or be seemingly unable to keep themselves in their seat and concentrating on their work.

How you can help your child with Focus:

  • Use timers to encourage self-monitoring of on-task behaviour (e.g. each time the timer goes off, check whether you are working or daydreaming).
  • Provide fidget toys and other sensory aids to facilitate appropriate movement when needed.
  • Allow regular movement breaks, especially during long periods of seated work.
  • Allow the use of ear plugs or ear phones to block out distraction during ‘working’ times.
  • Use checklists to break up tasks and give guidelines of the steps that need to be completed.

With the right support and guidance, children with executive functioning difficulties can learn to manage and overcome these challenges, making a big difference to their learning and self-esteem, and helping them to be more independent and effective in their daily lives.

What can teachers do to help children with Autism be successful in the Classroom?

If your classroom is anything like the thousands of classrooms in schools across Australia, then it is likely that there will be at least one student with Autism among your students each year.

While every child with Autism is different, and has their own unique set of strengths and challenges, there are a few simple things that you can do to give any child with Autism the chance to be successful in your classroom.    

Develop a relationship with the child.

Children need to feel accepted, acknowledged and genuinely liked by the adults caring for them to be able to develop trust and feel safe in the school environment. When a child feels connected with their teachers and support staff, they are more likely to trust in their decisions and be more responsive to behaviour management strategies too.

Taking some time to learn about a child’s interests, and using that knowledge to make a positive connection, can make a big difference to how a child with Autism responds to you and the demands of the classroom. You might need to remember the names of some Pokemon characters, find out how to build a house in Minecraft or spend some time learning about horses, but finding moments to share with your student with Autism to show interest in them and their passions, is definitely an investment worth making.

Say what you mean.

As adults, we often speak in ways that are indirect and assume others can infer the message hidden underneath our words. While this is usually the case for neurotypical children, children with Autism often struggle to understand the subtleties of language, even when their own language is well developed. This can lead them to get stuck on a literal interpretation of the words being spoken instead of the message being conveyed underneath.

Children often come to me confused and distressed by events in the classroom or playground that have been caused by unclear communication, particularly when their misinterpretation of an instruction has led to them getting in trouble and they do not understand why. For example, one 9 year old boy came to me bewildered and feeling that he had been unjustly punished following an incident in his classroom. He had been told that once he finished answering questions on a worksheet he could have free time in the classroom. He answered the questions quickly with short sentences and spent the rest of the class reading. When the teacher checked his work she was not happy with his answers – she expected a paragraph in response to each question but had not clearly communicated that, assuming that the child would know what was expected – and he was made to stay in at recess and write more in answer to each question.

Taking the time to use clear unambiguous language and ensure expectations are fully understood, can make a big difference to an Autistic student’s performance in the classroom, and also help to reduce feelings of uncertainty and anxiety.

Be consistent.

For the majority of children with Autism, experiencing anxiety is a part of everyday life, and can have a profound impact on their ability to cope with the school environment. When people or situations are unpredictable a child’s anxiety levels are likely to increase, sometimes leading to challenging behaviour and meltdowns, as the child loses the ability to regulate their emotions and control their behaviour – the fight, flight or freeze response.

You can make your classroom more predictable by having regular routines, visual schedules and clear expectations. When a child understands what is happening each day and what is required of them, the classroom becomes a familiar and predictable place and their feelings of anxiety decrease.

However, predictability is not just important in the day’s activities, but also in how you and other staff respond to the child with Autism and his or her behaviour. This is particularly evident when a child’s regular teacher is away, or when attending specialist classes. If a child is allowed to lie down during mat time in your class, but gets in trouble for lying down when he has a substitute teacher, this will cause confusion and anxiety, and possibly challenging behaviour if the child feels he or she is being treated unfairly.

Ensuring there is consistency not just in classroom routines but also across staff responses when supporting a child with Autism, will result in a more settled and engaged student.

Be curious.

Curiosity is often said to be the opposite of stress and anxiety. This can be a powerful observation when you have a child with Autism in your classroom who is engaging in challenging behaviour. While it is natural to feel stress, anxiety and frustration when faced with a challenging child, being curious about what the child is communicating by behaving in this way, and what might help the child change their behaviour, can really assist in taking the emotion out of the situation and allow you to approach the problem in a more effective way.

Acknowledge their feelings and experiences.

The difference in thinking and sensory sensitivities that are commonly associated with Autism, often result in children with Autism perceiving situations differently to those around them. This can lead to confusion and conflict, as a child with Autism may insist that a situation has occurred in one way, and others involved in that same situation may have experienced it differently. It is important to remember that there are no right or wrong feelings. While as adults we might feel compelled to tell a child that they should feel a particular way in response to an event according to what makes most sense to us, it is not helpful to the child to have their feelings dismissed. Instead, we need to acknowledge the child’s feelings and their perception of a situation, and assist them to consider that there might be another point of view. Letting them know they have been heard and their feelings are acknowledged, can make a big difference in helping your student with Autism manage difficult situations and strengthen your relationship with them as well.

With the support and guidance of an understanding teacher, children with Autism can have the positive experiences they need to achieve success in the classroom.