How Do You Teach Your Child With Autism Self-Esteem?

How do I teach my kid to accept who he is with autism and help him reach his fullest potential to live a fulfilling life?
– Raja

How Do You Teach Your Child With Autism Self-Esteem?

Dear Raja,

Having a healthy self-esteem is perhaps the single most important aspect of a person, and I believe it can be taught. In fact, my favorite presentation is Teaching Your Child Self-Esteem. Here’s one suggestion: Emphasize the child’s process, rather than the final product. For example, if your child brings home a picture he made in school, don’t simply say “good job” without elaborating.

You may add, for example, “I really like the way you did the sun; those swirling rays must have taken a while to make.” The child reflects on what he actually did, rather than on feeling that he is glad to please his father. We want our kids to feel inner satisfaction, rather than working to please you. What happens when he is 15 and he does not care about pleasing you anymore? Then what happens? You want your child to feel intrinsic pleasure in what he is doing for himself and within himself. That can be taught—and that is one of the most important things we can do for a child.

See his latest video about placement at: Look for Rob’s new book entitled Uniquely Normal, written to help parents make a difference with their child on the autism spectrum.

If you have a question for Rob, please email

This article was featured in Issue 71 – Navigating A New Year

Rob Bernstein

Rob Bernstein, an educational therapist specializing in autism spectrum disorders, gives you hands-on suggestions for handling your child’s behavioral issues. Rob uses a cognitive approach to understand what’s underlying the behaviors so that the issues can be resolved. He has over three decades of experience working with individuals with problematic behaviors including tantrums, repetitive behaviors, self-destructive behaviors, hitting, cursing, miscommunication and non-communication, school issues, and difficulties relating to others. If you have a question for Rob, please email