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Milestones Autism Resources

4853 Galaxy Parkway, Suite A
Warrensville Heights, OH 44128

Phone: (216) 464-7600

Home Get Started For Community at Large Tips for Meetings, Social Outings & Events

Tips for Meetings, Social Outings and Events

General Tips for a Get-Together with Someone with Autism

  • Be considerate of sensory issues the person may have. For example, people may have difficulty with fluorescent lighting, may seek a quiet space, non-smoking environment or sitting on soft vs. hard furniture.
  • Consider that the person might also have a sensitivity to strong smells. Avoid strong smelling cleaning products, scented candles or other room deodorizers, perfume and pungent cooking smells.
  • Ask in advance if the individual has any other particular habits or needs that you can be prepared for. Do they have strong food aversions or preferences? If you have pets, are they comfortable with animals?
  • Help engage the person in conversation, regardless of the topic. Conversations are important for boosting social skills and engagement.
  • Recognize if the individual is feeling overwhelmed or needs a break to go to a quiet place.
  • Be flexible and open-minded with your plans.
  • For some people, a visual schedule of how you will be spending your time together with a clear beginning and end may be helpful.

Making social outings, events and meetings a positive experience whether in personal or business setting

  • When possible, provide advance notice of social or work outings or meetings. Spontaneous changes or invitations are more challenging but when they need to happen try to give a little extra care to communicating them.

  • Include people with ASD in your social plans such as lunch with colleagues. Be sensitive about where and when you go, asking your friend or colleague for their input. For example, going out to lunch at the busiest time at a loud restaurant with crowded tables close together and standing in a long line waiting can be overwhelming. 

  • Be specific in a verbal invite to a person with ASD, and then follow up with an email. This will reinforce the details of the event and the person may be more likely to attend.

  • Give the individual a play-by-play breakdown of what will be occurring at the event you are attending, and try to stick to that order.

  • Offer to pick the person up and go with them to the event. Make sure you are punctual—some people with ASD are extremely time-focused and don’t respond well to tardiness.

  • If the person seems uncomfortable or anxious in a crowded space, it may be due to sensory overstimulation. Moving to a quieter, less congested area will help them feel more at ease. 

Visit our Best Communication Practices for Interacting with People with Autism page for tips on a range of topics.

Milestones Can Help

For more information or guidance, we offer several types of support. Check out our free Helpdesk, family/individual consultations, professional consultations/training or email info@milestones.org.

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Call: (216) 464-7600 x200