Parents with autistic children often see their kids struggling in a social setting. The inability to express themselves and easily comprehend social cues can cause frustrating and lead to aggressive behavior.
Since you cannot keep your child away from every social environment such as classrooms, parks, and other public places, teaching them social skills is essential. If you don’t know where to start, continue reading to learn easy ways to help your autistic child deal with social situations.
Make the most of technology
Technology has opened many doors for children with autism. Autistic children can now practice speech using mobile communication technologies.
The best thing about using mobile phones or tablets for communication is that your child would not have to interact with anyone, even while practicing. There are many mobile applications that help children with autism practice verbal communication. Download these apps and help your child improve their communication skills without the pressure of interacting with people.
Organize group activities
While it can be emotionally taxing for a child with autism to interact with people in an unfamiliar environment, it is crucial for developing social skills. Organizing group activities where your child can lead is the perfect middle ground.
Letting your child lead the activities will put them in a position to determine their limits. That’s because autistic children often find it easy to interact with peers in their comfort zone.
Many schools and organizations organize activities for autistic teens where they are allowed to determine their limits and mingle with others.
Get a pet
Having a pet is therapeutic. But have you ever wondered how it might impact a child with autism?
According to research, autistic children who have pets are better at developing social skills. They find it easier to introduce themselves, seek information from others, and answer questions. By spending time with pets, children with autism develop emotional bonds. They also learn to identify emotions.
Acknowledging the efforts of autistic children and appreciating them has a positive impact. You can validate their improved behavior by praising or rewarding them. It will give them much-needed encouragement.
Practice play and role play
Use the favorite toy of your autistic child to practice play skills. Enact a story or a scene from school, home or park with dolls and soft toys. Your child will follow you and indulge in playtime. It will help your child learn how to interact and respond.
You can also try role playing before your child goes on playdates or social events. Think of interesting role-play situations, like attending a birthday party with other children. It will prepare them for the upcoming playdates and make them comfortable with the idea of meeting other kids.
Roleplaying is an effective method for developing social skills in children with autism. Design a situation and then walk them through it. If your child is older, practice a role play around a social problem. For instance, not getting the chance to play a game, not wanting to go to school, etc. These situations will help the child understand what to expect and how to react.
The bottom line
Developing social skills in a child with autism can be one of the most enriching experiences you can have. Over time with practice, an autistic child may start feeling comfortable in a social setting. When you see them coping well, smiling, talking, and feeling a part of a social setting, you will feel content and happy as a parent. So take some time and use these tips and exercises to improve your autistic child’s social skills.