Why Do Children On The Spectrum Ask Repetitive Questions? And How Can We Reassure Them?

As both a teacher and a mum, I can testify to how frustrating it can be to be asked the same question over and over again – especially if you know that the child or young person asking the question already knows the answer.

However, it’s worth remembering that if a question is being asked repeatedly it is more than likely a sign of anxiety, and the questioner’s way of seeking reassurance from the adult they are with.

So how can you give them this reassurance whilst also saving your own sanity?

  1. Write their question and the answer down, this way you can direct them to it for reference whenever they ask. Promise that if anything changes you will alter your answer so that they will know.
  2. For questions about when a particular event will happen, booth calendars and visual timers (depending on the proximity of said event can help). This way children can visually see at a glance just how long they will need to wait.
  3. Older children might find writing their question on a post it note and popping it in their pocket helpful. The deal being that at set intervals the adult with them will check and answer all of their questions. 
  4. For children who struggle with reading and writing, using technology – either simplified press buttons that a child can press to hear your reply as many times as they would like to, or screen readers to read out typed answers can help a lot.
  5. Lastly, but definitely not least remember it’s important to look behind the real purpose of the question, and try to work out whether it is the question itself that is worrying them or something else entirely. Reducing anxiety levels is the most effective way to deal with repetitive questioning. 

WHAT NEXT?

Why not join our lovely, friendly Facebook Group full of parents determined to make sure their children are #UNIQUEANDSUCCESSFUL.

If you do want to learn more you might find our autism section a useful place to start. It’s full of different strategies to try out.

Or if you’re looking for more personal support to help you take that action, why not check out our Consultancy Services.

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