Children with autism are often described as anti-social. It can appear that way, but in reality, it’s not that they don’t want to be social. They just don’t know how to be.
Kids typically begin to notice each other and interact when they reach 2 and 3 years of age – a key time in their development. As they play with each other and navigate various social situations, children start to learn vital social skills that will benefit them in a variety of ways and sustain them for the rest of their lives.
In the case of children with autism, social skills as simple as making eye contact or asking to join in a game don’t come naturally. But, with expert help and lots of patience and care, they can learn through the proven science of ABA therapy!
The benefits of learning social skills
Social skill development in children with autism offers endless benefits that will help them reach their full potential. Here’s a look at three important areas of a child’s development where social skills make a big impact.
Children with autism who struggle to interact with peers and lack the ability to make friends often suffer from poor self-confidence. They may want to play with other children, yet aren’t sure how to approach their peers.
In an ABA therapy social skills group, children of like ages and development can learn how to develop vital peer relationships in a safe, low-pressure environment guided by an expert. Building friendships nurtures a child’s self-confidence and self-esteem, and in turn, helps them become more emotionally resilient.
Social interaction with peers enables children to relax and have fun. It also encourages the development of critical skills, including language and speech.
Peer interaction gives children the opportunity to:
- Practice their receptive language skills (a.k.a. listening comprehension)
- Work on their expressive language skills (a.k.a. spoken and written words)
It also helps children learn pragmatic language skills, like making eye contact and interpreting facial expressions, which are especially important for children with autism.
Of course children can learn problem-solving skills on their own during independent play. However, they also need to learn how to solve problems when part of a group. A social situation provides a dynamic learning experience for kids, giving them the opportunity to develop problem-solving skills, like conflict resolution.
Knowing how to problem solve in social situations is important for successfully interacting with others, maintaining relationships, and integrating into society.
It’s never too early to start ABA therapy. Kids as young as two can benefit from the gold-standard treatment for autism.
Here at The Behavior Exchange, all of our programs and services, including One-on-One Therapy, Behavior Exchange Early Start (B.E.E.S.) for preschoolers, and Social Skills Groups for school-aged kids, are focused on social skills development in the context of a child’s individual goals.