Interacting with your autistic child

No matter how old your child is, spending time together will help you both have fun and stay positive! Here's a list of play ideas.

Play with young kids! Share favorite activities with older kids and teens!

No matter how old your autistic child is, spending time together will help you both have fun and stay positive!  It also strengthens your role as a trusted ally for your child.

Image of a parent holding up a child
For younger children, playing together can help them with development, learning and forming relationships. It will also create opportunities for them to practice social skills and communication.



Purposeful Play  can help your child work on these skills: 

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  • Listening to Instructions
  • Expressing Themselves
  • Stronger Hand and Eye Coordination 
  • Social Interactions and Taking Turns

  Click on the link at the bottom of the page to see a list of ideas for purposeful play. (It will open in a new tab or appear in the bottom corner of your screen.)


If your autistic child is a preteen or teen, having a strong relationship with family members will help them through the challenges of adolescence.

 Image of two older kids waving

For older kids, this may just mean doing things they like to do, but together.




Here's what you can do:

  • Take them to hear music, run around outside, play a video game, line things up in neat rows, learn everything about polar bears...

  • Talk to them, ask questions, learn from them, and show that you can enjoy these things together!

  • Let yourself be silly and curious. Try to follow instead of lead.

  • Try to see the joy that your child sees in their favorite activities.

Kids with autism spend a lot of time being very aware of how different they are. Doing their things together like this can help them be happy about who they are. And it can help you know them a little better. And best of all, it can create that strong personal bond that is so important for all of us!

Sources: University of Washington Autism Center, Autism Speaks, Profectum