Nine Important Social Skills Every Autistic Child Must Learn
Social skills are the abilities and behaviors used in social situations. Many can agree that social skills can often be elusive, making it a challenge to excel in children with autism. As a parent or a caretaker, it is up to you to encourage and address social skills for autistic children to lead a content life.
Learning social skills encourages children with autism to cross many barriers, such as communicating effectively, understanding social cues, and building positive relationships. Helping autistic children improve their social skills keeps on becoming more and more important as you look into this aspect.
Here are some of the most crucial skills every child with autism must excel in.
Table of Contents
1. Eye Contact
Many autistic children can have a hard time during social interactions, but just because they struggle does not mean they do not want to interact. They rely on their caretakers to help them on their journey of making better connections. Even just being observant and confident can help an autistic child engage better.
It is crucial to teach children with autism to maintain eye contact while conversing with someone. It can take some time for autistic children to look someone in the eyes and talk smoothly simultaneously. Once they excel, it can help them learn facial and emotional cues effectively.
2. Asking for Help
It can be hard for autistic children to engage with others and form connections. This challenge does not only affect their day-to-day interactions but also may restrict them from asking for help or realizing if they need help.
That is why it becomes important for caretakers to teach autistic children to develop skills to navigate different social situations. It is crucial to tell autistic children how help from the right resources can be beneficial. You can learn autism social skills and how they can can benefit them all life.
3. Active Listening
Children with autism often have issues with focusing and listening actively. It can be a hard skill to help them excel. However, the importance of this ability can make it impossible to be skipped. Listening is the better half of speaking, and a balance of both creates a smooth conversation.
Active listening means that they can not only listen but engage with the person they are talking to. This skill can help them learn faster and absorb information better. Hence, autistic children with active learning can form deeper relationships and engage better.
4. Social Cues
Autistic children often have difficulty understanding social cues. Studies show that children on the autism spectrum interpret communication literally. It means that they are unable to understand inferred behaviors and social cues.
Children with autism can only learn social cues with the help of practice. Try teaching them what body language and facial expression can mean to become more socially skilled. This way, an autistic child can also absorb emotional and behavioral responses better.
5. Turn Taking
Children with autism often have a hard time sharing their things. This also includes their toys and personal space. Many parents feel that their child is unable to understand the concept of sharing and eventually give up trying.
Teaching your child about sharing can be a long and challenging journey. The key is to remain consistent and teach them the importance of sharing. Practicing this skill with your child every day and setting practical examples can yield beneficial results for your child and their social skills.
Empathy can be a complex social skill to practice, even for individuals outside the autism spectrum. To many people’s surprise, it was considered for a long time that people with autism were unable to empathize with anyone. Thankfully, psychological studies have proven it wrong.
Children with autism have empathy like many other individuals and show similar distress when looking at others in trouble. One of the best practices is to use mirrors and photographs to label emotions. This exercise helps autistic children learn a wider emotional vocabulary and recognize emotions in other people.
7. Personal Space
Everyone appreciates the concept of personal space, especially children with autism. While they can come off as rigid when it comes to their personal space, they may have difficulty giving the same comfort to others around them.
Several studies show that children with autism often stand too close to others and may even walk in between two people or a group having a conversation. Such problems only grow over time. Therefore, timely interventions become extremely important.
One way to teach your child about personal space is to tell them to stick their arm out to get an idea of ideal distances they should maintain between themselves and others. Once they develop an understanding, you must ensure that they do not stick out their arm every time they approach someone.
8. Conflict Resolution
Conflict resolution is a skill that, even with experience, struggle with. It can be a particularly hard social skill for autistic children to excel. However, making it through can help them become more functional in their day-to-day life and hone their problem-solving skills.
There are several benefits of learning conflict resolution for an autistic person. It can be a beneficial addition to their skillset to form meaningful relationships. In addition, your child’s communication skills can also be enhanced through learning conflict resolution.
9. Comprehending Emotions
Just as many emotions and cues mentioned before, there are many more that can be hard for an autistic child to understand. They can often feel left out socially and may even face confusion. It can lead to them feeling overwhelmed and overstimulated.
As a parent or a caretaker, it is up to you to use different techniques and ways to learn to teach your child about comprehending emotions. Different exercises, such as labeling emotions in everyday life and pointing out different emotions in books and movies.
You can also improve your child’s social correspondence by mimicking the facial and emotional state of the character and expressing how the story or character makes you feel. This practice can make it easier for children to embrace relatability as well.