My son with Aspergers tends to be tactless...

Question

My son with Aspergers tends to be tactless, very literal and overly honest and idealistic-is there any way that I can help him to be able to get a long a little better socially?

Answer

Socialization is a necessary component of life. Social communication is how we interact with the people around us. If a child struggles with socialization and communication, he will have problems getting along with his peers.

Asperger’s Syndrome manifests differently in each individual, although all children with Asperger’s have some form of social and communication deficit. There are ways to help turn your concerns into non-issues. You can help your son achieve a more balanced social life. You can start working on this at home where he is most comfortable.

Social stories are stories written about different real-life situations that follow the desired steps to correct problems in social behaviors. You can find books filled with social stories on the Internet or at your local library. You could even write you own, tailoring the stories to fit your son’s specific trouble spots. If you decide to use social stories, you should also pursue other options. A multiple-therapy approach is your best bet for a good outcome.

If your son has a program in place that includes occupational therapy, ask for a consultation with his therapist to add specific social communication goals. When you think of occupational therapy, you tend to think of something other than these types of problems. In reality, these therapists are very good at helping Asperger’s children learn to use correct social skills, as well as most other living skills. Most therapists will offer parent training sessions, as they are usually happy to know that the parent is interested enough to invest the time in their child.

Finally, check with your local Asperger’s support group or your child’s school system for available social skills groups. These groups are usually led by a psychologist or a therapist and provide opportunities for the Asperger’s child to practice social skills in a controlled environment. You can then follow through with extra practice at home.

There are books available that will help you work on social and communication skills completely at home. One such book is “Social Skills Training for Children and Adolescents with Asperger Syndrome and Social-Communication Problems” by Jed E. Baker”.

This book is an entire social skills curriculum complete with reproducible handouts and activity sheets. It covers all of the skills that cause most of the problems for children with Asperger’s and is a complete training package for Asperger’s kids of all ages. This program is very user-friendly and very detailed. You are sure to find specific examples of and solutions for the issues you see in your child.

All of these suggestions can be applied at home with a little training. You can help your son develop better social skills, enhancing his perspective and insuring a bright future.

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