Social skills are so ingrained in our daily lives and interactions with others that we rarely, if ever, stop to think about them. For children with an autism spectrum disorder, it can be more difficult to read social cues and know how to integrate properly in a social setting.
A social skills program provides individualized plans aimed at improving behaviors and providing positive outcomes that can be defined.
What is a Social Skills Program?
Social skills are those behaviors that every person uses each day throughout their interactions with other people. These skills involve showing an interest in other people, including those topics that are important to them, sharing information about themselves, and making “small talk.”
Because children who have differing degrees of autism spectrum disorder may not understand when it’s expected for them to engage, a social skills program at Ascend Autism can help them learn these essential cues and signals.
The ability to connect with other people is just one element of a social skills program. There are countless other elements of social skills that are both subtle and more obvious:
- Telling another person how a summer vacation was spent involves much more than regurgitating the facts as the child remembers them.
- The child must first be able to identify the highlights of their summer. Then, they have to be able to summarize the key points of excitement that occurred during those highlights. This means they have to engage their short term memory and fill in their summary with details that demonstrate the importance of the event to the listener.
The Give and Take of a Social Skills Program
Social skills are a complex topic that requires human beings to be good listeners as well as being able to engage with others in conversation. A social skills program provides a safe, supportive, and nurturing place for children on the autism spectrum to engage in the back and forth that is at the heart of all communications between humans.
Important elements of any ASD treatment program of this nature include:
- Access to a Board-Certified Behavioral Analyst (BCBA)
- A treatment plan tailored to the child
- Simple interactions with others of their own age
- Home services
- Telehealth services
- Varied intensity from ten hours per week up to over thirty, depending on the needs of the child
Listening: An Important Part of Any Social Interaction
Being able to listen is just as important as being able to summarize events and remember details. Being a good listener is part of a balanced social interaction. Another crucial concept is being able to tell when their audience is no longer engaged in their story and what to do next. This is where social skills, such as reading the cues of other people, can come into play.
Stopping their story and asking if the listener has a similar experience or making a connection in another way is a key skill that children need to be able to navigate the complex world of today.
Providing a foundation of a predictable structure that the child can apply across nearly any social setting provides them with the ability to connect on a personal level with their peers, family, teachers, and others they may encounter.
Related Resource: Small things parents can do to help improve their child’s social skills.
Learn More About Ascend Autism’s Social Skills Program Today
Ascend Autism provides a social skills work program that focuses on delivering superior outcomes by compassionate professionals.