In their early years, kids love to play with friends and are full of energy. Their cheerful sounds and mischiefs make a “house” a “home.”
However, if your kid doesn’t do the above-stated activities, behaves differently than other kids, and avoids eye contact, they may be prone to Autism.
And that’s okay. You do not need to stress. Autism in kids is common.
According to Statista, more than 803,000 people (aged between 3 to 21 years) were prone to the Autism Spectrum in 2019-2020. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) covered this in a report last year.
Moreover, many autistic children have some degree of delayed speech or language skills, leading to social isolation. Understanding the nature of social skills difficulties in Autism and using developmentally appropriate strategies can reverse loneliness and isolation.
And that’s why we have compiled a list of five strategies that can help enhance your kid’s social skills.
Have a look.
Focus on Positive Things
Every parent and educator has their way of teaching a child social skills. Some parents choose direct, explicit instructions, while others prefer repetitive practice. Parents also employ various feedback strategies to encourage the development of social behavior in kids continuously.
However, this isn’t the case with Autistic children.
They are often unable to interpret social cues. For example, they may not know how to respond when a greeting is offered or respond by doing a handshake without understanding the gesture.
Recognizing when behavioral modeling is needed can help bring about desired responses and social skills in Autistic children.
Focus of Optimistic Behavior
Most children learn about social behaviors by watching others. But autistic children often don’t understand things they witness. They may get overwhelmed in group situations and have difficulty understanding social cues such as body language and facial expressions.
So, they need help interpreting the social world around them to prepare and plan their interactions.
Roleplaying can be a fun, non-threatening way to let autistic children practice social skills within a “safe” environment. You can use roleplay during therapy sessions, playgroups, or even afterschool activities to help autistic children learn how to navigate uncomfortable social situations.
Moreover, you can also play these games to help spread smiles and positively engage your autistic child:
- Playing board games with them
- Hide & Seek
- Kicking the ball back & forth
- Simon Says
Build Habits For Social Interaction (Without Forcing)
You can’t force social interaction. Your child has to interact with others, and it doesn’t help if you simply stick them in an uncomfortable situation and expect them to know how to react instantly.
Building social skills is a process. You have to understand what bothers your child and keep them away from such elements. Autistic children function on routine and structure. Bright lights or loud noises can affect them negatively, so maintain an environment where they feel comfortable enough to socialize.
The point: Try to be sensitive to their needs and help them by being their mentor. Remember that while it may seem unnatural or awkward being too social as an introvert, the key to improvement is practice and patience.
The Silver Line
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who receive social skills training are not only more accepted by their peers than those who do not; they also have fewer behavioral problems. The social skills of autistic children can greatly improve with early, consistent and systematic intervention. ABA Therapy can help in this regard. It can improve behaviors and the child’s socializing skills.
A child’s way of thinking is often difficult for parents to understand, but their actions are often easier to interpret.
Parental intuition may help parents see the difficulties their child may be having, but finding a way to get an Autistic child to understand what they see and correctly identify why something is offensive is another challenge altogether.
What do you think about the tips mentioned in this article? Let us know in the comments!