No matter what end of the spectrum kids with ASD are on, they always have difficulty in at least one area of socializing. Kids on the Asperger’s end of the spectrum often relate better with adults than with their peers but typically there are still some tell-tale signs of difficulty in social settings.
These are some of the areas we work on when focusing on social skills of children.
- Conversation reciprocation: This can include initiating conversation, asking follow-up questions, offering follow-up comments, and taking turns.
- Expressing wants and needs: Using appropriate tone and language to express their needs. Reduce yelling and inappropriate behaviors and increase self-awareness when needs are not being met and ways to express those needs in an effective way.
- Using appropriate body language and nonverbal language: Using nonverbal language that is inappropriate can often make children unapproachable. Increasing smiling and eye contact can help their peers feel more comfortable in a conversation.
- Entering and leaving a conversation: Entering or leaving a conversation in an easy, relaxed manner is often very difficult for children with ASD. Letting a person know that you are finished with the conversation by saying something like “see you later” instead of just walking away is often a learned skill for kids with ASD.
Teaching social skills to kids seems counterintuitive but for kids with ASD it is often necessary. Everyday I see children in my practice who want to have friends and who ask me how to make and keep friends. Teaching them how to make others comfortable in social situations is the key to their success in friendship.