How to support people with autism:

Explain at every stage what you are about to do, what will happen next and why

Give the person enough time to understand the information you are sharing and wait a few seconds for a response if it is not given immediately

Questions should be clear and direct using language that is easy to understand and pictures where necessary – do not rely on the person to pick up on the meaning of your questions or body language

People with autism might take what you say literally so avoid words with a double meaning and humor that could be misunderstood

Maintain a routine – familiarity is often important to some people with autism

Social difficulties may include lack of eye contact and unusual body language, talking at inappropriate moments or about inappropriate topics

Repetitive behaviors might be a coping mechanism and therefore should be respected

The environment is important – some people with autism are particularly sensitive to light, movement, sounds, smell and touch. Try to keep the immediate environment as calm as possible to help alleviate any anxiety

Always consider the person’s behavior in terms of his or her autism, even if it becomes challenging

Ask the person and/or parent, caregiver or advocate what support they might need