Social skills are an abstract collection of behaviors that enable individuals to interact with others. These interactions happen in a manner considered appropriate and effective in meeting individual needs. Social skills are essential in supporting a high-quality life, maintaining friendships, participating in the community, and minimizing the risk of feeling lonely among adolescents and adults. On the other hand, poor social skills lead to feelings of loneliness and depression due to poor rates of positive support from the social surroundings.
Social skills are very challenging for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), specifically relating to the use and comprehension of nonverbal communication and interaction with peers. Given that social skills challenges define the diagnosis of ASD, they are a central focus area for teachers, parents, and therapists.
Fortunately, several social skills lessons for autism can help your child learn to interact socially. Activities focus on enhancing sensory issues, as primary concerns for any autistic child relate to this. Sensory issues impact how a child responds to different stimuli that are also being responded to by other children. Although it varies among children, several with ASD want to interact and form friendships with others but have no clue how.
Children learn social skills lessons to interact with and develop friendships with others. There are different exercises and studies you can teach your child to help them develop social skills.
The following includes the main social skills lessons for autism:
Children with ASD mainly concentrate on a single mode of learning instead of two or more like children without autism. Printable activities effectively teach visual learners with ASD social skills, as imagery plays to the child’s strength.
Children with autism have difficulty maintaining eye contact since they find it uncomfortable. Starting a staring contest will help your child overcome this sensory issue. You can let your child stare at your eyes for a minimum of five seconds and increase the time bit by bit. If they keep their eyes on you for the set time, you reward them with positive support. However, please do not force them to stare at you for longer than they are comfortable with at that time. Compliment every positive stride your child makes by appreciating them and giving them gifts for doing the activity well.
Sharing of materials involves verbal communication, empathy, and taking turns. These skills might be complex for your child, so applying them would be a challenge. Social stories are great for explaining the aspects of sharing before your child participates in a real sharing experience. Engaging your child in such activities helps them learn kinesthetic and auditory lessons.
Face games, such as acting sessions, are a great way to teach your child social skills. The games involve making faces and letting your child mimic them. You can start with actions that are easy to copy, and once your child can copy, you can move to others. Your child may find it difficult at first, so help them to become familiar with reading emotions.
Playing these games will help your child to introduce themself. Also, it helps in learning the names of those around them. You can play this game by gathering all your family members in a circle where you can all see yourselves. When everyone says their names while pointing at themself, it is easier for your child to remember names faster. It gives them an advantage when they start making new friends, as well.
Etiquette games emphasize the significance of being polite. Taking part in such games is simple but effective in teaching manners to autistic children. Among the etiquette games, be sure you choose a game your child likes. It would be best if you ensure your child shakes hands with the opponent before the match begins, looks into the opponent’s eyes, and wishes them good luck. At the end of the game, your child needs to do the same, but say good match to the opponent instead of good luck.
The more your child plays games like these and obeys the rules, the more it becomes a natural skill for them. Also, the games impart knowledge about sportsmanship and allow your child to earn the respect of peers.
Engaging your child in social skills lessons and aba services will help your child learn readiness skills, daily living, communication, and social skills. The different approaches strengthen socially appropriate behaviors in your child and minimize faulty adaptation behaviors.