What do you see when you look in the mirror? I look to see if my face is clean, my hair is neat, if my clothes are on correctly etc. Most of us use the mirror to make sure we look presentable. Kids with autism may spend a lot of time in front of the mirror, but may not be looking at any of these things. They may be just enjoying spending time with the person in the mirror. They may not care if their face is clean, their hair is a wreck and half their lunch is on their shirt.
So you may need to teach your child some mirror skills. There is nothing wrong with making faces at yourself in the mirror, but you also need to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and make adjustments to your appearance when needed.
I like to teach kids to “CHECK” themselves in the mirror.
C – Cheeks and chin. Look at them. Are they clean?
H – Hair. Does it need combed?
E – Ears. Did you wash them?
C – Clothes. Are they dirty or on inside out?
K – Kisser. That's your mouth. Did you brush your teeth?
Is there food on your mouth?
Write this on a piece of paper and tape it to his mirror. Or write it on the mirror with window markers. This helps your child really look at the individual parts of his face and helps him understand what you are asking him to look for.
You can also take a picture of your child looking the way you want him to look and tape it to the mirror and have him match his image to the picture. The more specific you are about what you expect from your child, the more successful he can be. And that will help you both.