Top 5 Ways to Help Your Child with Autism Stay on Topic

autism conversationHave you ever had a conversation with your child with autism, and all of a sudden he starts talking about something that seems totally unrelated to the topic? This is a common social-communication mistake that many kids with autism make.

There are quite a few things that you can do to help put him on the right path to successful conversations with others:

  1. One of the best ways to teach your child how to stay on topic is to model this concept for him. Purposely have conversations in front of him that are clear, concise, and stay on topic. When you model this behavior for him, you are exposing him to positive social experiences.
  2. Use topic cards for meal times and provide questions to help him stay on topic. Prepare cards ahead of time. On one side of the card write a topic. On the other side of the card, write down questions or comments that have to do with the topic. During dinner, everyone at the table should choose a card from a container. He or she should talk about the topic on their card. Others can join in, but the person who chose the card should lead the conversation, and use the questions on the card to help guide him.
  3. Teach your child intro statements such as “This reminds me of.” Sometimes, conversations may actually remind him of something that happened. However, if he doesn’t introduce the topic by saying, “Oh, that reminds me of…” you may be left standing there totally confused. For example, you may be talking about something you bought at the grocery store. Your child may start talking about coins, or he may even make video-game sounds. You may think that he is stimming or talking off topic. However, if he simply said, “Mom, this reminds me of a video game I was just playing,” that awkward comment now makes total sense.
  4. Role-playing is a great way to practice learned skills in a structured setting. You can create topics and act out different roles while staying on topic. The more situations that your child is exposed to, the more chances he has to succeed at this social concept. I encourage you to get silly with this and have some fun!
  5. Play an ABC topic game. You or your child, can choose a topic such as “cars.” Go through the alphabet and each of you has to think of a specific car that begin with each letter. For example, A is for Audi, B is for Blazer, C is for Camry, etc.

Our social world can be pretty overwhelming for your child. However, with these fun activities, you can really help him successfully navigate through some challenges.

If you need more activities and strategies to help your child with social skills, our waiting list is now open for our upcoming Autism Educates Social Club. If you are interested in joining other parents from all over the world, receiving my online support, and learning tons of techniques to make social skills easier for your child, simply email me at I will send you more info and will put your name on our waiting list.


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