Teaching Your Child Social Skills

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  • October 8, 2011
  • by Christine
  • choices, emotions, social skills, stress,
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Through the eyes of an autistic child, things often appear differently. They do not view things in the same way that the others do and because of this, they often do not learn the same way. This is why autistic children need to be guided and taught when it comes to social skills.

Social skills can be achieved by implementing certain activities which would help your child. The first thing you need to do is to determine the social skills that your child needs to improve on. Observe him carefully and take note of the way he acts around strangers and the way he reacts when dealing with them. One to two days is usually enough to give you a hint as to what social skills he needs to improve on.

If your child seems to have difficulty understanding emotions, you can help him understand emotion by teaching him how to read the different facial expressions. You can do this using an activity called “Pick a Pic.” In this activity, you will need to take pictures of yourself showing the different facial expressions such as an angry face, sad face, happy face, etc. Have these photos printed out and then write the emotion you are showing at the back of the pictures. Show these pictures to your child and ask them to identify the emotion you are showing.

If your child is having difficulty making choices, you can start training him to make choices by providing him some opportunities in which he can select from two options. It is best that you do this activity in a low stress environment. Always start with simple situations so that it will not be overwhelming for him. For example, you can ask him whether he wants to play with a car or with an airplane. Continue to do this activity until he gets more comfortable in making decisions. Soon, he will realize that he has control of things because he can choose from the options available.

If your child is having difficulty dealing with stress, you can teach him to deal with stress by helping him regain control of his feelings. Let your child know that it is alright to get mad and be angry because everybody does. However, what is not acceptable is for him to be behave negatively because of anger or stress. When you see your child stressed, give your child some time to let him think about his thoughts on the stressful situation. After he has thought it through, ask your child feel what he is feeling and to try to identify the emotion he is feeling. After he has identified his feeling, teach him to respond by giving him a list of appropriate reactions such as ignore, stomp foot and talk about it. Doing this will allow your child to understand the process by which he can deal with stress.

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