A father and a son, standing against a wall, with the son looking up at the dad. They both have their arms crossed, indicating that the son is imitating the dad. This implies teaching your child to learn by imitation.

Teaching Your Child to Learn by Imitation


At Blue Parachute, we are committed to providing valuable resources for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to learn and develop essential skills. One powerful method of learning that we often emphasize is imitation. If you’ve ever wondered, “Does learning occur by imitation?” or sought guidance on teaching imitation skills to children with ASD, you’re in the right place. In this blog, we will explore effective strategies for teaching your child to learn by imitation to foster this skill in individuals with ASD.

Does Learning Occur by Imitation?

Imitation is a fundamental form of learning, and it plays a crucial role in the development of individuals, regardless of whether they are on the autism spectrum or not. Learning by watching and imitating others involves observing and copying the actions, behaviors, or words of others. For children with ASD, this learning mode can be particularly valuable as it helps them acquire a wide range of learning skills and behaviors.

Imitation Activities for Autism

Engaging in replication activities can be an effective way to promote learning by imitation in children with ASD. There are many strategies you can consider implementing, and we have listed some of the best below.


Use modeling as a teaching technique. Demonstrate the desired behavior or skill, and encourage the child to imitate your actions. This can be especially useful for teaching daily living skills, such as brushing teeth or tying shoelaces.

Video Modeling

Leverage the power of technology with video modeling. Show the child videos of others performing the behavior or skill you want them to learn. Video modeling can be a highly engaging and effective method.

Peer Imitation

Encourage peer interactions. Children with ASD can often learn by imitating their peers. Arrange opportunities for children to engage in social activities and observe and imitate their friends.

Visual Supports

Use visual supports, such as visual schedules and social stories, to illustrate the steps involved in a particular behavior or skill. Visual aids can provide a clear guide for imitation.

What Is the Mirror Strategy for Autism?

The mirror strategy involves setting up situations where children with ASD can watch themselves in a mirror while performing a task. This visual feedback can help them better understand and imitate the movements and behaviors required for that task. It’s a valuable tool in teaching imitation skills and can be particularly effective for activities that involve motor skills.

What Strategies Would You Use When Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

When teaching students with ASD, it’s essential to adopt strategies tailored to each student’s individual needs and learning styles. Below are some general strategies that can support teaching imitation skills.

Individualized Instruction

Customize your teaching approach to match the child’s unique strengths and challenges. Consider their sensory sensitivities, communication abilities, and interests.

Positive Reinforcement

Implement positive reinforcement techniques to motivate and reward the child for their imitative efforts. Praise, tokens, or preferred activities can be powerful incentives.

Patience and Repetition

Understand that learning by imitation may take time and require repeated practice. Be patient and provide opportunities for ongoing skill development.


Maintain consistency in your teaching methods and expectations. A structured and predictable environment can facilitate learning.

Imitating the Right Way With Blue Parachute Videos

Learning by imitation is a valuable skill that can significantly benefit children with autism spectrum disorder. At Blue Parachute, our collection of instructional videos, developed by Licensed and Certified Behavior Therapists, includes content that utilizes the power of imitation for skill acquisition. Explore our video resources to find valuable tools for teaching imitation skills and supporting teachers, parents, and individuals with ASD on their learning journey.

If you still have questions, you can read our FAQ page, or you can contact us online. You can even send us an email. Through various imitation activities and effective teaching strategies, we can empower individuals with ASD to acquire new skills, foster independence, and enhance their overall quality of life.


Related Readings:

Blue Parachute – Who We Help

Teaching to Respond to Greetings: How to Respond to Hello

Teaching Your Child to Prepare a Snack


NIH – Teaching Imitation to Young Children With Autism

The University of Maine – Activities to Encourage Your Child to Imitate You

ABA Programs Guide – What Is the Imitation Method of Teaching?