Tips For Developing Your Child’s Social Skills

Tips For Developing Your Child's Social Skills

When most parents take their children to a local playground, it may seem impossible to get them to stop talking to other kids. 

Children are, by their nature, very social, and if your child is confident with others, they may have no issue making friends. However, if your child has a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), social skills do not come so easily. 

Rather than isolate them, there are ways you can help a child with ASD to develop socially.

So, read on to learn some top tips.

How Does Autism Impact Communication?

According to the CDC (Centre of Disease Control), children with ASD may struggle to read social cues, as well as having poor non-verbal skills and sensory sensitivities. This can be hard to overcome with one approach alone but, websites like can provide specialised approaches that can be tailored to your child. It is also worth consulting with an autism expert, such as a child psychologist, to devise a care plan for your child’s needs.

Of course, there are some basic things you can do to help develop your child’s social skills.

Reinforce Positive Behaviour

Every child expert states this, from Supernanny to Nanny 911; if you want your child to learn what is acceptable, you need to reinforce positive behaviors. Deliver it within five seconds of the behavior occurring and use a reinforcement model that works, such as touch, talking or an activity. This will send a clear message that behavior A is what you want, and that your child will receive a reward for engaging in it. 

Model The Behaviours You Want

Even children without ASD would be frustrated if you stated that they had to be on their perfect behavior if you weren’t!

So, it is worth engaging in therapy or ASD parent-based peer groups for yourself to help you stay calm and level-headed. If you get upset, don’t shout or yell. Simply walk away and balance yourself. 

Create Structure for Social Interactions

When you are engaging with your child, try to set expectations at the beginning, and break down the activity into stages. Children with ASD can become very distressed if they are expected to know what to do so, try to be clear and concise about what you are going to do, as well as what you expect from them. Try not to break down an activity into too many steps, or they may become overwhelmed and stressed.

Use Visual Aids

Some children with ASD thrive with visual aids, while others do not. 

To help your child prepare their social skills, you can use visual aids such as pictures and drawings to showcase what they can expect from a social setting. This can give them ideas about which behaviors are acceptable and which ones are expected, thereby helping them to prepare better.

Minimise Distractions (if possible)

When you are working one-on-one with your child to help them build their social skills, try to do it somewhere quiet, calm and where there will be minimal distractions. Many children, especially those with ASD, find it easier to learn about the nuances of social interactions in a space where they feel comfortable. 


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