Can you advise me on social skills training for my 12-year-old child with Aspergers?

Question

Can you advise me on social skills training for my 12-year-old child with Aspergers?

Answer

For children and teens with Aspergers (high-functioning autism), social skills are necessary, but usually lacking. Finding resources for social skills training in the educational setting may be difficult in many areas. If your child’s school offers social skills classes, social skills therapy, or peer mentoring, he should be participating. If not, there may be public or community based programs, or even private therapy choices available. These programs range in cost and availability and could be unattainable. If this is the case, there are ways to teach these skills at home with very little cost.

Because this is so important, the Aspergers social skills connection must be addressed as early as possible and continually supplemented as the child’s ability to understand improves with age. Similar to basic manners, here are a few of the basic social skills that should be taught to children with Aspergers.
  • How to act appropriately in public -- following public laws, dressing appropriately, keeping bodily functions private, being mindful of others, etc.
  • Personal hygiene -- clean body, clean teeth, clean hair, clean clothes, etc.
  • Table manners -- using utensils, using a napkin, chewing, talking, excusing oneself, etc.
  • Telephone manners -- salutations, listening, speaking, answering questions, taking messages, etc.
  • Two way conversation -- greeting, speaking, appropriate subjects, listening, answering, etc.

While teaching your child with Aspergers social skills, you can easily incorporate basic living skills. As your child enters the teen years, it becomes increasingly important that he knows how to manage not only himself, but also a household. Beginning to teach basic chores and household management skills at his age will help prepare your child for his college years. Here are a few examples of basic living skills.
  • Financial-banking, paying bills, saving money, etc.
  • Household chores-cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc.
  • Maintenance-stocking groceries, changing air conditioner filters, mowing the lawn, etc.

You can teach your child with Aspergers social skills at home by using visual and written schedules. For example, a visual aid that shows appropriate daily, weekly, and monthly hygiene will help your child keep track of what should be done, when it should be done, and how often it should be done. You can also search the Internet of public library for books and videos to help you plan learning activities.

Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management

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