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How can I teach my child with autism to stand up for herself?

Chantal Sicile-Kira
Mental Retardation & Developmental Disabilities Specialist

Children must be taught to be assertive—not aggressive—from an early age. Being able to protect yourself from an invasion of your privacy or discomfort is an essential safety skill that begins with assertiveness, and is, in effect, the first step towards being able to advocate for yourself. For example, teaching a child to independently order food in a restaurant and to clarify what he or she wants (with or without assistive technology for those who have few verbal skills) is one way of teaching about appropriate assertiveness. In a classroom, a young student may be able to use a mentor or facilitator to approach the teacher about possible solutions when the child is having difficulty.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.