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

10 comments:

  1. How can you help your Aspergers child deal with a socially popular sibling? Here's our situation: My 7 yr old is literally the life of the party. He makes friends everywhere he goes, he always has playmates available and is invited many places with his friends. Depending on the group my 9 yr old Aspie is included but it's clear to anyone observing the group his brother is in the center of the group. How do you help your Asperger child deal with this? I've noticed lately he's getting really jealous of his brother and is starting to act out toward him. We try to find an activity for him that he enjoys when his brother is gone but in conversation we know he's sad that he doesn't have a best friend. He's trying so hard but he hasn't really connected with someone that doesn't leave him to play with his brother. He's starting Social Skills therapy in January and we work with him daily on being "aware" when interacting with others but I hate to see him be alone.

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  2. Take him/her to a children's theater group, or gymnastics class. Find activities at involve other kids but where they are independently doing something.

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  3. Special Olympics has been wonderful for my 11 year old

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  4. Boy scouts for my son....haven't found anything that I can afford for the girls yet.

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  5. I have taken my daughter to social skills group at Geneva Centre and now we are taking them at Aisling Discoveries. She also in swimming lessons at Variety Village (they are amazing with special needs kids).

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  6. what about Girl Scouts? They do some awesome group activities and learn life skills similar to Boy Scouts

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  7. Secret Agent Society Program is really good.

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  8. We have a Lego Social Club in our area that is wonderful! It teaches teamwork and social skills to children and teens with Aspergers and Autism.

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  9. Avi often answers questions that have a yes or no answer with the response "yes and no". If I ask, "what do you mean by that?" he'll occasionally explain, but usually just repeats "yes and no", like it's the most obvious thing in the world.

    It's frustrating not to be able to get a straight answer from him, even though if I think about it, I can usually work out what he means.
    But other people may not want to bother trying to work out what he means by "yes and no", and will just be put off talking to him at all.
    And when I tell him, "if you speak like that, people won't understand you and it will be hard for them to be your friend," he simply shrugs and says " I don't care"

    Any suggestions on helping him give more understandable answers? Or helping him to care that people understand him?

    Thanks

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  10. RE: Any suggestions on helping him give more understandable answers?

    He must have heard the "yes and no" phrase somewhere, and is now somewhat obsessed with it.

    You can model for him expanded explanations. For example, when he asks you a question, you can say, "The answer to that question is 'yes' ...and here's why ____________________ (insert longer explanation)."

    RE: Or helping him to care that people understand him?

    This is a phase that he will outgrow eventually. I wouldn't worry about it.

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