Five tips to help your child with autism build social skills
Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are often characterized as having difficulties with social interactions and communication skills, which can make navigating our social world a challenge. Here are some tips to help you build your child's social skills and work toward building a strong, healthy social network of their own.
Start with the basics
Because autism can skew your child's perspective of facial expressions and phrases, it may be difficult to differentiate between a friend and a bully. Use real-life examples to define true friendships your child observes in their life or yours to explain these differences. For example, ask your child, "do you like spending time with someone who calls you names like ‘jerk' or someone who comforts you by giving you compliments.'"
Utilize visual aids
Using paper figures, toys, or drawings, you can act out and demonstrate natural ways conversations may start on the playground, in the lunchroom, or in other settings your child may experience. Be sure to include responses and conversational tips such as "oh, that's cool," or "I like X, do you?" to help aid your child in understanding back and forth conversations.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Expose your child to various social settings such as school, playgrounds, and even less common situations like parties or events. By practicing common and uncommon social interactions, you can minimize your child's anxiety when put in these situations in real life.
Incorporate your child's interests
Build on your child's interests by planning potential outings and playdates around things they already enjoy. By doing this, you will introduce your child to other like-minded kids, which in turn can help make conversation easier and more natural.
These steps will be an ongoing, evolving lesson as your child grows and develops. Social skills take time to learn and practice for everyone, but especially for those living with autism.
Life Skills Autism Academy provides ABA Therapy for children diagnosed with autism. We create one-on-one programs that are specifically designed for each child's developmental goals, including improving communication and social skills. For more information on Life Skills Autism Academy, or to learn more about autism and how you can help your child, call us at 1-888-915-4551 or email us at [email protected]