Autism is a condition characterized by a dilemma with social skills, speech, and repetitive behaviours. Genetic and environmental factors influence it. It is a broad spectrum condition meaning each autistic child has a range of strengths and challenges.
The autistic children require support in their daily lives, and they are encouraged by parents, teachers, and doctors to live independently. Moreover, they should have interaction with peers in their school to stay socially active.
Social interaction is an essential part of the educational plan for every school. It is usually a routine for the teachers and parents to actively let their children take part in activities that enhance their social skills. But with autistic children, it becomes a challenge for both the teachers and the parents.
Furthermore, sometimes, the peers who wish to get involved with their autistic friends socially are affected. This does not mean that autistic children do not want to get involved in social activities, but they lack the skills to engage with their friends and teachers. Many ways can be adapted to improve the social skills of students with autism.
Social development refers to the child’s capability to interact with the people around them healthily as it requires language skills and self-esteem. Also, it requires learning skills and positive attitudes in different situations. It may sound easy for healthy children, but it requires extra care and support when dealing with a child who has autism.
Why autism children have difficulty interacting with peers?
The autism child faces challenges when trying to interact or engage with peers, parents or even teachers. The problems of social skills are rooted in the elements of autism, such as:
1: The autism syndrome shows a delay in acquiring verbal communication finesse,
2: ASD develops an inability to comprehend non-verbal communication hints,
3: Overwhelming sensory inception,
4: repetitive behaviours and adherence to a fixed routine.
These elements cause frustration and children outburst. Throwing tantrums is a usual effect of their frustration, as they boil over the fact they are having difficulty in understanding social situations, and it becomes challenging for them to make people know what they want.
How To Develop The Social Skills in Autism Students?
Autistic children may appear withdrawn and indifferent to other people. They may prefer playing alone and be challenging to confront, and they may approach peers but in a very unusual way. With the ideas below, one can handle them and make them socially active to play joyfully with their peers.
1. Practising Playing:
Practising different skills in play situations will help an autistic child to learn different scenarios, and they will start coping with winning and losing. Prompting the child to take turns and obey the rules will help them learn the norms of behaving in different situations with their peers.
Plays, like the tea party and feeding a teddy, will allow the child to experience the real scenarios easily. It will also reduce the social stressors that may trigger them to act unusually in real-world situations.
Roleplays can aid the child to practice the skill sets they need to play with others. Practising talking about the things they like to watch and play on the weekend and what plays they would love to play with the friends coming over or at school. Playing the games with the child before he plays with peers can also make him learn the manners and rules to follow when he plays in real with his peers.
3. Visual Prompts:
Many children are good at visual learning. Visual prompts will aid in remembering the skills the child already is aware of. It may be pictures, checklists, or prompt cards. This will allow the child to behave and remember what things he needs to do once he encounters his peers or even teachers.
4. Video and Software:
Technology boosts the previously mentioned skills by making them more attractive and eye-catching to the tech-children. Video clips added with sounds are helpful in many ways. It develops the body language and communication skills together with building the emotional abilities of the child.
5. Teach Empathy:
For the involvement of social activities in children, it is necessary to take another’s perspective and accept what they want or desire; this is called empathy. Making the autistic child aware of the appropriate vocabulary via commentary and awareness of feelings and facial expressions can make the child adjust with the peers easily.
6. Teach to Ask and Give Help:
Asking for and providing help is overwhelming for the autistic child. But practising it routinely will aid the child to adapt to the circumstances. It will help the child to give support when needed, and he will not hesitate to ask for help from his peers once he knows the ways to do it through practice.
7. Coordination among the Teacher and Parents:
This is an essential part of developing social skills. As the parents are always trying at home to develop different skills in their child, the teachers must communicate with the parents. Discussing the patterns and ways they are trying to develop the skills will help. It will also help the child to behave nicely as the situations will be the same; at school and home.
The ideas mentioned above will support the autistic child develop communication, emotional, and social skills at a pace that everyone will be amazed.