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What is the best way to teach social skills to my adolescent son who has Aspergers?


What is the best way to teach social skills to my adolescent son who has Aspergers?


Asperger’s Syndrome (high-functioning autism) makes it hard for people to handle social situations. It is important to remember that a person can appear socially comfortable, using proper speech, good behavior, and impeccable manners. However, these things do not make a person socially able. Having these qualities will not help with the real issues of socialization. You have to find ways to teach basic, age appropriate social skills so your son will feel natural among his peers.

Social skills therapy is used to teach real interaction within a peer group. At school, your son should be able to participate in a social skills group. This type of therapy is guided by a therapist and includes kids in the same age and social ability ranges. The therapist will initiate conversation within the group, and then have the kids practice some basic pre-scripted situations among themselves. They are given the tools they need during therapy to use in real-life opportunities.

Some schools have peer group shadowing. Peer shadowing enlists the aid of a select group from the general education population, preparing them to assist children with Asperger’s in the daily communication and interaction skills they are missing. The shadows are trained to break down the normal conversations that they automatically understand and deliver the skills in a step-by-step fashion. For example, the peer is taught to ask about another child’s day in simple terms and then how to respond in a straight-forward manner to keep the conversation going. The child with Asperger’s is then able to mirror the behavior he sees coming from his peer. The peer learns valuable lessons in tolerance while the child with Asperger’s learns the basic social skills he so desperately needs. Not only will your son learn how to deal with social situations this way, he will also get a chance to interact with kids at school that may have never given him a chance.

Social stories are a very popular option for teaching social skills. More often thought about for younger kids, you can now find them written specifically for the needs of the adolescent or teen Asperger’s kids. Some are even in comic book form. Your son may find these interesting, easy to read and effective. Plus, he will be in control of the situations he learns about. As he ages, he probably will not want his parents to know everything about what he’s thinking on a social level.

Direct involvement is one of the best ways to reach kids this age. Give your son ownership by allowing his input when searching for answers. Adolescence is the time to encourage a bit of independence. Let him know that he can learn to handle and even enjoy relationships.

My Aspergers Child: Preventing Meltdowns

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My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

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How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

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Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

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Older Teens and Young Adult Children with ASD Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with ASD face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

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Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

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Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

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