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How to Motivate Autistic Adults?

How to Motivate Autistic Adults?

Almost one in eight children aged 2-10 years in India suffer from a neuro-disorder that can include autism too.

Autism is a word that a lot of people would not like to hear when it comes to their loved ones especially adults. It’s a sensitive topic and sometimes they don’t even like talking about it. They tend to be in denial and would say that their adult is just delayed or something of that nature when in all reality, your loved one is what he or she is and you have to do the one thing that you can do, research and help your family and yourself cope with it.

Autistic Adult

In this post, we will take you through – what is autism, its symptoms and causes, how to help someone with autism, and multiple other segments around the topic.

So, without further ado, let’s begin

What is Autism? – Definition and Statistical Overview

Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder as many call it, is a neuro disorder that can trigger in early childhood or in some cases, is visible in adults too. In children, the first signs come forth as early as 12 – 18 months. 

Autism is a developmental disorder that impairs social interaction. It’s not a disease where people can catch it nor should it be hidden to the outside.

According to the statistics, it has been found that autism is more commonly observed in boys than girls (4 times higher diagnostic rate). Even the World Health Organization (WHO) report indicates that 1 in 68 children across the world suffers from ASD. Globally, nearly 70 million individuals suffer from autism, out of which 10 million alone are from the Indian subcontinent.

Tell-tale Signs of Autism

Since no two human beings are similar, the autism symptoms too vary between individuals and impact them differently. Some of the signs that you must look out for include:

  •  Limited eye contact when someone is interacting with them
  • Showing no signs of response while hearing a familiar voice/sound
  • Unable to communicate or point out at things
  • Completely avoiding and resisting physical contact

Every individual experiences a varying set of challenges, strengths, and needs. ASD refers to a wide spectrum of conditions wherein the individual faces difficulties with:

  • Delayed development in language and speech learning
  • Difficulty performing tasks requiring analytical and cognitive skills
  • Poor motor skills and lack of sensory sensitivities
  • Repetitive behavior and restricted interests

The problem with some people is that they tend to hide what their autistic adult has and not do anything about it to help them. The more you know, the better and more comfortable you’ll feel about the situation and you would want to do whatever it takes to make sure that he or she will get the right and the best help that they can get.

Before we try motivating autistic adults or learn subtle ways of how to motivate adults, we must keep in mind the following pointers:

Autistic Adults Behavior – Learning to Accept them is the first step

Working with autism isn’t easy, but following the below-listed pointers can surely help empower people with autism and their families:

  • Remember that the individual isn’t “autistic”

They are, first, primarily and always an individual, a student, a child; and they have autism. Do not confuse the person and the condition. Friends and family should never speak about the term in a negative or hurtful way especially in front of them.

  • Adults with autism are not the “same” as others with autism

Make an effort to get to know each person as an individual. Seek to understand their strengths, weaknesses, and personality. Ask them – and their friends and family, if they cannot reply – about their hopes and dreams.

  • Autistic adults need services

Services should begin early. These tools can apply in the context of screening for other disabilities. An early start will change lives! Roughly that about one-quarter of siblings of those with autism will have developmental problems.

  • Evidence-based services need to be provided to those with Autism Spectrum Disorder

If you’re wondering how to support people with autism, including evidence-based services is your best bet. Though these services are difficult and time-consuming, they are helpful for cognitive and social skills.

Replacing medication with education and social service isn’t encouraged and while medical treatment can help, you must take them with a pinch of salt and exercise some level of caution. Another way of working towards autism encouragement is by including autistic adults in your research and ensure their rights are protected so they can help others.

  • Keep individuals with autism active in society

Involve those on the autism spectrum in vocational training so they can have a say. Services provided during adulthood should be led by determination, personal relationships, and activity in community events. The community should make an effort to adapt to environments to help accommodate needs. This will help make our society better.

Those on the autism spectrum face discrimination and disrespect for many reasons including fear and ignorance. Many individuals with autism live at a higher risk of violence and abuse. Remember, every adult has a role to play in the world. Families dealing with autism want to be involved in helping to create and shape policy development and evaluation. The motto: “Nothing about me, without me,” should guide leaders when making decisions about treatment and accommodations.

How to work with someone with autism?

Autistic Adult

Therapies for autism spectrum disorder aim to reduce the abnormal behavior that is exhibited by people who are affected by this condition. Furthermore, people who are living with individuals with autism spectrum disorder have to play their part. You don’t have to be an expert to be able to do this. It is essential that you know what you need to do and what you need to avoid.

To ensure your conversations goes as smooth as possible, you can use the following guidelines:

  • Address them as an adult, not a child

Never assume that the individual has limited cognitive skills. He/she may be slow in verbal conversations, but his/her ability to comprehend the contents of the conversation might not be. Hence, exercise necessary caution.

  • Avoid familiar and personal words/phrases

Too adorable and sweet words like ‘honey’, ‘cutie’ can backfire and sound disrespectful to someone who’s trying to be independent.

  • Follow a direct approach while communicating

You must ensure that you’re interacting clearly with autistic adults. Sarcastic tone or slang must be avoided as they can confuse the individual.

  • Create a consistency, a schedule and stick to it

If your child suffers from autism, and you’re Googling about ways of – how to work with kids with autism, the first and foremost step is to be consistent and follow the schedule. Your child being autistic can have issues in learning, so be consistent with their environment to reinforce learning. Also, set up a schedule allowing them enough time to learn, play, and sleep. Minimal disruptions in their set schedule can go a long way in curing them.

Support from family and friends is essential for any person with autism to live a life that is as normal as possible. Some of them may even be able to excel in particular fields that they have chosen to be in.

You would be surprised at how adults with autism, with the right help, can live normal lives like the rest of us. So, don’t turn your back on the situation, do something about it now and early.

Activities to help autistic adults gain social skills

A lot of our everyday social interactions depend on certain non-verbal cues, facial expressions and language nuances. This can pose to be a problem for autistic adults since they have a hard time reading other people’s expressions or understanding certain non-verbal cues. But there are several activities which can be significantly helpful in overcoming such social challenges and help them form better relationships. Some of them include:

  • Non-competitive sports: The best way to help autistic adults build social relationships is by helping them participate in non-competitive sports such as swimming, biking, etc. It can be a perfect icebreaker and help provide a structured interaction opportunity. 
  • Classes- Taking a class in any subject of interest such as cooking, art, language, etc. with other people can also be a great way of improving social skills. This can also boost confidence over time. Classes also work really well as a team-building exercise. 
  • Roleplay- Another way of motivating autistic adults to participate in social interactions is by engaging them in roleplay. This helps bring emotional reciprocity and the feeling of empathy in them. The scripted interaction can help teach them about real-world conversations without having to deal with any social pressure. It also prepares them for the unexpectedness of social interactions. 
  • Board games- Playing board or card games with peers can be helpful in enhancing the ability to hold casual conversations. It is one of the activities for adults with autism which are fun and impactful at the same time. 

Working with children with autism

The challenges that come with working with autism require some insight. To increase the learning potential of children with autism, you need to understand them. 

Find out how they learn best– Every child has a different inclination when it comes to learning techniques. Most kids with autism respond well to visual cues. Using visual aids to teach various concepts can help in motivating autistic students to become better learners. 

Create a suitable learning environment– When interacting with autistics students, ensure that the surroundings are free of any distractions. A quiet environment free of any sensory stimulus can help them concentrate and learn better. 

Become an expert on themBe mindful of what triggers them and what comforts them. This can help you create a sense of comfort between you that can be helpful in difficult situations.

Celebrate small successes– If you are wondering how to work with children with autism, the first step is acceptance. Instead of fixating on how the child is different from others, accept their quirks. Celebrate all success, no matter how small. 

Engage with them– Play therapy technique is very effective with autistic children. In this, you gain their attention by doing what they do. This will help you get closer to them, and they will pay more attention to you once you have engaged them in a common activity. 

Don’t give up– The journey is going to be different for everyone. You have to be as patient and as supportive as you can. 

Learn more about Autistic Adult Treatments

Need any personalized support about how to help an autistic adult? Connect with our well-trained specialists who can help you with the right information, resources, and tools to help autistic adults cope with their daily activities. Reach us at our 24/7 helpline number- +91 96111 94949 or mail us at info@cadabams.org for more information about treatment options or any other queries . 

Disclaimer: Please note that terms like ‘autistic adult’ or ‘autistic child’ should be avoided. These words may cause autism to define the person. Instead, phrases like child/person with autism should be used. Autism is now referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD to better explain the range of symptoms it can cause and to include sub-types like Asperger’s and pervasive developmental disorders.


What motivates an autistic child?
Due to the various difficulties arising from it, Autism and lack of motivation go hand in hand.  Motivating an autistic child takes effort and determination. However, if done right, you will be able to help the child live a normal and fulfilling life. Some things you can do to help a child facing autism are:

  • Take time to understand how they learn best. 
  • Create a holistic learning environment for them
  • Celebrate the smallest of successes.
  • Engage with them
  • Stay committed and don’t give up. 

How do you motivate someone with autism?
For individuals with autism, motivation is one of the main obstacles to leading a fulfilling life. So, how can you motivate individuals with Autism? It includes a combination of these :

  • Address them as adults, not children. 
  • Avoid Familiar and personal words/phrases
  • Follow a direct communication approach
  • Create a consistent schedule and stick to it. 

Do autistic people lack social motivation?
Individuals suffering from Autism have difficulty in learning, social interactions and completing everyday tasks. All of these together cumulate into a lack of motivation to interact with the society around them. However, with effective communication, proper understanding and consistent efforts, individuals with Autism can learn to interact effectively and lead a fulfilling life.

How do you calm an autistic person down?
Individuals with Autism face significant difficulties in daily interaction and completing daily social tasks. This stress can cause them to have meltdowns or breakdowns. In such cases it is important to have a plan to help calm them so that they can resume their normal routine. Here are some things you could do to help:

  • Giving them some time – As it is with all individuals, time is one of the most important aspects. Allowing them to take their time and then trying to approach them is the best option to ensure that they remain as calm as possible. 
  • When you are conversing with them, be as calm in your tone and language as possible. Ask them or their guardian if they are feeling okay. Remember, they may take much longer to respond than you expect, but it is important to be patient and not push them too much. 
  • Try to help them find a secluded space where they can spend some time alone till they are able to overcome the sensory overload. This goes a long way in helping them face the strains of social interaction again.