Social skills can be a challenge for children with Asperger’s and other forms of autism. Although your child undoubtedly wants to make friends, he or she might not know how to do so. Existing friendships can sometimes be compromised by inappropriate social interactions or other atypical behaviors. Although it can be discouraging to watch your child struggle with friendships, there are effective strategies that can help him or her. Talk to an ABA therapist about building your child’s social skills.
Discuss What Friendship Means
The basics of friendship might seem obvious to many people, but for a child with Asperger’s, it might not be as clear. Use language that is appropriate for your child’s developmental stage. Although friendship is an abstract topic, it’s important to use literal language. For example, you could say, “A friend is someone who helps you feel better when you’re having a tough day. A friend is someone who is nice to you,” instead of saying something abstract such as, “Friends accept their friends for who they are.”
Roleplay Various Situations
Your child’s ABA therapist will likely guide your child through applied activities designed to help him or her learn how to respond to various situations. You can continue this practice with your child at home. Set up simple, straightforward scenarios. You can pretend to be a kid at school who tells your child, “Hey, Jimmy. I really like the T-rex on your shirt.” Your child can practice saying something like, “Thanks, Alex. I like your shoes.” This situation teaches your child that it’s generally expected to reciprocate with compliments.
Look for Common Interests
At an ABA school, your child can practice interactions in a structured setting . But he or she will also need real-world practice with typically developing children. Consider enrolling your child in an enrichment activity that suits his or her interests, such as a science club or chess club.
If your child has autism and your family lives in Plano or the surrounding areas, call The Behavior Exchange today at (888) 716-8084. At our ABA school, you’ll find caring professionals who use evidence-based methods to help children with autism develop social skills. Your child can learn how to make new friends in our social skills group.