The self-presentational behaviour of 43 6- to 12-year-old children with high functioning autism spectrum disorders (HFASD) and normal intelligence and 43 matched comparisons was investigated. Children were prompted to describe themselves twice, first in a baseline condition and then in a condition where they were asked to convince others to select them for a desirable activity (self-promotion). Even after controlling for theory of mind skills, children with HFASD used fewer positive self-statements at baseline, and were less goal-directed during self-promotion than comparison children. Children with HFASD alter their self-presentation when seeking personal gain, but do this less strategically and convincingly than typically-developing children. © 2008 The Author(s).