Meta: Learning how to navigate socially can be hard, especially for autistic kids, but we’re here to help. Read on for more on social skills for kids with autism.
Social Skills for Kids With Autism
Social skills can generally be hard for children to grasp at first and even more challenging for children with autism. But, despite being challenging, they need to be learned since acquiring social skills can greatly assist children and teens with autism in making friends and building relationships. Plus, social skills can make operating in the world significantly easier.
But how do you make social skills easier for kids with autism? Well, there are a few different ways. A good example is ABA for children, which we are discussing in the paragraphs below. If ABA (i.e., Applied Behavior Analysis) interests you, this link might be informative and useful to you. Now, let’s get into discussing social skills, their importance, and the ABA kids program.
The Importance of Social Skills
The importance of social skills for children with autism cannot be overstated. These skills can make moving through life much easier and make many aspects of social situations simpler to comprehend.
Social skills are very beneficial for being able to navigate the following:
- Being able to understand what other people seem to be thinking and how they are feeling
- Being able to work out facial expressions and a person’s body language
- Being able to solve social problems
- Being able to adjust to new social situations
- Being able to understand social rules, even unwritten ones
- Being able to share interests with peers
- Being able to connect with others and make friends
Aba Kids Therapy for Social Skill Development
As we’ve discussed, social skill development is crucial for autistic children to navigate society more easily and in a more fulfilling way. Because of that, many parents of children with autism often have anxieties and fears over this exact issue. So, how do you help your autistic child develop social skills successfully?
ABA therapy for children is one of the viable solutions. ABA is a form of therapy that prioritizes teaching and development of social skills for kids with autism. It makes use of a particular set of procedures and techniques that are at the core of the science of behavior analysis.
This entire methodology follows a design that is set to improve an expansive set of skills in relation to social intuition, social language, and social play.
Aba Therapy for Early Learners
While social skills come naturally to neurotypical children through observation or trial and error, many autistic kids may need systematic assistance with acquiring these skills. That is especially true for younger learners. Some of the skills that are usually taught to younger children with autism include the following:
- Learning how to maintain eye contact
- Being able to engage in interactive play with other children
- Being able to play pretend
- Being able to initiate a conversation
- Being able to turn-talk
- Being able to follow directions
- Learning how to identify social cues and emotions
- Learning how to empathize
Social Skill Development for Older Children with Autism
Admittedly, being socially skilled gets harder and harder the older a child gets, even for neurotypical children. So, it’s good to be able to have guidance throughout the process of social skill acquisition. In this section, we will be discussing social skill strategies for older children and teens, that is, children ages 9–18. So, let’s explore what all of this includes.
We’ve discussed the importance of social skills, and we’ve also highlighted their key role when it comes to pre-teens and teens and their social development. But how do older autistic children develop socially? Here’s a list, which we will also go through in more detail.
- Self-management techniques
- TV programs
- Social media
- Social groups
- Social skill training
- Social stories
- Visual support
Role-plays can help a child navigate simple life situations by practicing them in a comfortable environment. You can try role-playing a school experience, having conversations with friends or classmates, and simple interactions with other people, and you should also encourage your child to come up with scenarios that they find particularly troublesome or are interested in learning how to navigate.
Learning how to manage their own behavior and not rely on others is, on its own, a really good way to gain social skills.
Watching TV programs can give your child ideas on how to act in different social situations and what social behaviors they should avoid.
Local social activity groups, or even recreational ones, are a great way for autistic kids and teens to connect to their peers and learn social rules and skills. You can recommend a group to your child or help them pick one based on their interests or hobbies.
Local social activity groups, or even recreational ones are a great way for autistic kids and teens to connect to their peers and learn social rules and skills. You can recommend a group to your child, or help them pick one based on their interests or hobbies.
Social Skill Training
Certain autism therapy and support options are created to assist with social skill development. Some of them even utilize problem-solving strategies or fun games and help autistic kids bond with each other.
Social stories are a way to explain various social situations to children with autism. They’re very helpful when it comes to proper skill development and understanding social behaviors and concepts.
Video modeling includes a video that displays some type of social situation, which can help with social skill development. You can find these videos, purchase them, or make them yourself. For example, you could create a scenario of social interaction at the grocery store or between two friends. In the video, you can show different conversation starter ideas and different responses.
Visual support, in the form of pictures displaying various social situations, can be a good way to teach autistic children how to act in different situations. These pictures can also work as prompt cards that your child can use as a reminder. Such a picture can be pretty much anything, and it can also involve a textual explanation.