Quick links: MyODP ASDNext AidInPA PhillyAP

Building a Relationship of Mutual Respect


This specific resource provides professionals with information on building relationships with individuals on the autism spectrum.

A young woman talking to a young man. The woman is smiling, trying to help.Everyone wishes to be treated with respect.  The best way for you to gain the respect of someone you support is to build a relationship of mutual trust.  In addition to the ways you build any respectful relationship, there are also methods unique to building relationships with people on the autism spectrum.  Maintaining a person-centered perspective in your everyday interactions is key.

The main point of person centeredness is acknowledging that both you and the person you support have strengths, hopes, passions and needs that are important to well-being and a positive life condition.

    • Know the people you support beyond their paperwork
    • Speak to the people you support as you would to any other adult, taking into consideration their personal communication style
    • Provide opportunities for those you support to be involved in independent decision making
    • Always honor an individual’s right to privacy
    • Have a conversation about the language you use to talk about autism or other conditions the person experiences

What you can do now

  1. Build trust.  Take some time to get to know the people you support as individuals. Learn about their preferences, their sensory and communication needs, and apply what you learn to inform your daily support strategies.
  2. Assess how you speak to the people you support.  Do they have a preferred method of speaking about being on the spectrum of autism?  Do you talk down to them as if they were younger than they are, or as if they are not there in the company of other people?  If so, what adjustments can you make to improve the dynamic of your relationship?

Rate this resource

Thank you for rating this resource!

This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.