5 Ways to Improve Social Skills
“If you’re always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be…”
Social skills and interacting with the outside world is an important part of a child’s emotional and social development. Working on improving social skills can help students with autism to feel more comfortable, confident, and relaxed in unfamiliar settings and when developing relationships with peers, family members and new people too.
Social skills can help students with autism learn how to interact with different types of people, such as strangers, community helpers, family members, peers, teachers, etc. It can teach them very useful skills, such as listening and comprehension, recalling information, learning how to be a good friend, responsibility, and the list goes on and on.
There are so many positives that stem from developing social skills…
Developing social skills is an area that most students with autism find challenging, however, when taught in a safe, comfortable, nurturing, motivating and positive environment, students social skills can improve and be generalized across various settings.
Here are 5 Ways to Improve Social Skills in children with Autism:
- Use emotions and visuals to teach feelings.
It is important for students to understand different emotions that they may feel (e.g. angry, sad, excited, happy, etc.) and that others may feel too. Understanding that they have different emotions and other people do too is considered one of the most effective steps to teaching and improving social skills. By understanding emotions, students can learn to have conversations with peers, teachers and others, as well as be able to express and communicate their own needs and wants.
- Practice eye-exercises and giving eye contact.
Practicing eye-exercises can help students to develop focus for longer periods of time. This also can help them to learn to use eye contact and focus while speaking to another person, face-to-face. Eye contact activities have also been known to help build and develop self-confidence and improve social skills.
- Encourage social communication activities.
Students, who practice social communication activities in a safe setting, especially with a speech and language pathologist, can develop the confidence to use social skills in an unfamiliar setting or with unfamiliar people. Practicing conversations, asking questions, sharing information and completing team-building activities all improve social skills and prepare students for using these skills in different environments.
- Go on community outings.
Taking students out in their community to practice social skills is another way for them to improve and develop confidence with this form of communication. For example, by going to the grocery store and asking for help to find an item, while using eye contact and other skills learned previously, students can improve their social skills more than ever before.
- Use motivational resources that promote social skills.
If you need support getting started, Pieces of Inspiration is now offering FREE downloadable resources, which were collaboratively created by expert therapists in the field! These motivational resources will help to promote social communication and assist you on your journey towards teaching these skills
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