How to support a person with autism

The key to working with a person with autism is to understand the world from their perspective.

Autism Initiatives uses an all-encompassing, person-centred approach to understanding and supporting a person with autism. This includes aspiring to appreciate what each person understands, how they communicate, what motivates them, what they expect and what they experience through their senses.


A man doing a jigsawVisual aids

  • Whilst communicating with people with autism it really helps if they can actually see what you are talking about.  So showing an object, photo or a picture about what you are saying or writing things down can often make things easier for them. 
  • It also helps if you can break down what you want to say into chunks and give the person time to process and respond to each chunk of information before you give them the next bit.  You can also help by carefully explaining words and phrases where what you say is actually not what you mean (e.g. It’s raining cats and dogs refers to the weather and not to animals falling from the sky).

  • Give them the opportunity to let you know what they want by offering choices and try not to anticipate what they want to say.  If they are having difficulty explaining something, repeat back to them what you have understood so far and encourage them to continue.

Dealing with change

  • People with Autism spectrum condition (ASC) thrive on having a familiar environment with routine and structure being critical to their day to day activities. Changes to these routines, even insignificant ones can cause difficulties for the individual.
  • It is hugely helpful if a person with autism knows what is happening next and important that you let them know if there is to be a change in their routine or in what they were expecting. Establishing and following routines, using clear systems and checklists is equally important.

A woman teaching a man using visual aidsSocial interaction

  • Socially if a person with autism knows what they should do in advance of a situation it helps overcome misunderstanding and builds confidence.  It is also useful if they have planned a way of leaving a social situation if they become anxious.  Importantly people with autism should be given the opportunity to learn the social rules.

  • It is always helpful if, as far as possible, environments are managed in ways that respond to the particular sensory sensitivities and needs of the person with autism.

Our approach

Autism Initiatives uses a holistic, person-centred approach to understanding and supporting a person with autism and our unique 5 Point Star Approach ensures that we understand what the person with autism understands, how they communicate, what motivates them, what they expect and what they experience through their senses.

It helps us to develop and deliver strategies for each individual to help them to cope in our ever changing world. 


Further information

Symptoms of autism

Living with autism