Prioritizing training in social skills for people with autism can be challenging and overwhelming. Children with autism resonate at a different frequency. This is the reason that, at times, they need to be taught how to react and act in certain social situations. They may feel the desire to interact with others, but they might not know how to do that.
This is when social skills training for autism can help them break the ice and increase their participation, thus making way for happiness and friendships.
What Are Social Skills?
Social skills are a set of customs, rules, and abilities that govern the way we interact with others. Generally, people tend to pick up social skills while learning language skills, or by noticing others.
However, people with autism can find it hard to perceive what the social map should feel like.
People with autism may lag in a range of social skills, and have issues such as:
- Inability to understand non-verbal cues
- Speech development delays
- Giving unrelated answers to questions
- Difficulty in conversing
- Not understanding the feelings of others
- Repeating words over and over
Autism Social Skills Training
Social skills training can help people with autism in the following ways:
- Enhances their communication and sensory integration
- Develops ways to build up language and cognitive skills
- Trains them with teachable moments in realistic settings
- Let’s them focus on their timing and attention
While training and can help improve the symptoms, it is equally important that parents and guardians train at home to achieve the desired results.
Social Skills Training for Autism At Home
Here are some strategies that you can adopt for your autistic child to make things work:
Role-play for Social Skills Training
Provide your child with a realistic scenario and make them understand how they should behave in such a condition. For instance, if they are going to school for the first time, provide them with an overview of how their first day will look, and let them practice.
Watch videos for Social Skills Training
Make your child familiar with the situation they are nervous about. For instance, if they do not like going to a dentist, watch related videos of other kids visiting a dentist. This will help them in understanding that is a normal scenario. It will also help them in behaving well at the clinic.
Play games together for Social Skills Training
Playing games with your child is another way to help them practice good behavior. You can play hide and seek, or simple board games like Jenga with them. Check out my list of games and toys that can be helpful.
Kids with autism might have difficulty in acquiring social skills in the beginning, but as you train them under the guidance of expert educators, they can definitely perform better.
Dr. Sean Paul is a board certified child psychiatrist specializing in autism evaluation and treatment, behavioral issues and other child and teen psychiatric issues.