Author: Rebecca Knowlden
The social world is a difficult place for a child with autism. The world will not conform to your child, so you must teach your child how to navigate the social world. Teaching social skills needed to survive in life will need to be an everyday routine. It is no easy task….there is no easy button, but it will be important that your child learns how the world works. Without this ability, they are at a complete disadvantage.
But here’s the really good news - they can learn how to do this and you can be a big part of helping them learn these skills. So here are some ideas to get you started as YOU find ways to teach the needed social skills to your child and help them survive and thrive.
Role playing is very helpful. It “shows” and “tells” how to handle different situations. Have fun mom….you can “role play” being the kid sometimes too! Try to engage the whole family for “role playing”. Your child will enjoy the fun.
Manners – pictures in magazines or books offer opportunities to point out situations…point to a picture and play the game of what do you think this person is thinking or feeling. You give your input and let your child give theirs. Or when you see a situation when you are out and about, use those times for teachable moments. Sometimes TV shows and movies can be an opportunity for you to explain, (pause the show or replay the section) talk about and point out details of appropriate or inappropriate behaviors. Talking about what manners “are” and what they “look” like, helps your child understand how to apply them in their world.
Conversations are how we communicate. Listening first and then responding appropriately will be hard for your child. Some children lack the words needed to be part of a conversation. Take the time to work through this needed skill. Try using, “turn your ears on” and act like you are turning them on!
There are countless opportunities during the day to work on improving social skills. The key is to keep it from feeling like 'work', for either you or your child. Be proactive in finding ways to fold-in those 'teachable moments' in a fun and positive way. The improvement may not be immediate, but it'll happen.
We'd love for you to share an effective “social skill” you are teaching your child. Send me your comments and we'll fold them into this ongoing discussion over the next few days.
Core Principle #7 Find the best strategies for your child and family