With Spring and Summer just around the corner, there are many opportunities for our children to socialize and engage in group activities with others! If your child has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder or other developmental delays, this could be an area where they are struggling to feel confident, but there are many ways we can help children improve their social skills.
We know parents want to see their children be successful and happy, and often forming meaningful connections with others can be a great source of both of those things. Children diagnosed with Autism can have deficits in social skills which can lead to a child feeling overwhelmed or anxious in social situations. While there are many ways to help your child improve social skills, it is important to keep in mind that every child develops differently and has different interests, strengths, and challenges.
Here are some tips to help your child be prepared for social interactions, make connections with others, practice social skills at home, and feel confident with group activities.
- Use positive reinforcement: praise what they do well at socially!
- Model social interactions: practice play that involves sharing, cooperation with others, and social communication.
- Teaching your child to see social interaction in a positive light: this helps them form friendships with others and feel more confident when in groups
- Celebrate strengths – good sense of humor, a love of music, memorization skills, or a heightened sense of color or visual perspective – all of which can motivate interest in social interactions.
- Focus on social learning during activities: using activities that are not otherwise challenging for the child (for example, conversational turn-taking may not occur if a child with poor fine motor skills is being asked to converse while cutting.)
- Teach empathy – to engage in a social interaction, a person needs to be able to take another’s perspective and have an awareness of feelings, emotional states, etc.
- Social stories: using social narratives and cartooning such as books as a tool in describing and defining social rules and expectations.
Our Pinterest has a ton of great social stories to help with teaching and describing social skills, as well as games and other helpful tools! Click here to check it out!
Little Spurs Autism Centers offers collaborative and compassionate ABA Therapy to children 0-21 years old. Offering both center-based and home-based care, LSAC is excited to empower families by providing them with the support they need. For more information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org