One way to help with social skills is to role play.
Children with autism want to socialize, they just don’t know how! So they engage in socially awkward behaviors such as pushing, invading personal space, stimming, etc. Instead of apologizing to the other parent, TEACH your child what they need to say to get the child to play with them.
You can work on these skills at home by role playing with dolls or action figures. Act out scenarios where one approaches the other and says something like “Do you want to play with me?”
I think it’s great that more studies are being published on girls with autism. A previous client had not been diagnosed with autism due to her social skills. I urged mom to keep getting other opinions because I knew there was something there. Finally, mom found a hospital that had knowledge about autism being displayed differently in girls and she finally received her diagnosis!
I also do a lot of assessments for kiddos entering the ESE preschool program. I have seen many cases where based off the parent’s stories, are red flags for autism. But these girls are not referred to a specialist because they did so well during the interview. It’s very frustrating. If you believe there is something not right with your child, get 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th opinions. You know your child best, keeping looking for answers.
A common concern most parents have is for their child to sit and eat at the table. Since eating isn’t a favorite for most children with autism, sitting at the table won’t be either. The first thing that needs to be done is to make the table time fun! Have the child do his/her preferred activities at the table. The child will want to grab the item and move it away from the table. Give clear instructions that the item stays at the table and that if he/she wants to play with it, it’s at the table.
Pictured is a little boy I’ve been working with for about 2 months. I have paired myself as a reinforcer and have shown him new toys. Our sessions began playing on the floor and now we have progressed to playing at the table. Puzzles are his favorite! So we do lots of puzzles and I let him play with it over and over, he does each puzzle 3 or 4 times.
I don’t give any instructions related to the task (ex, where’s the cat? what color is this? what letter?) or have him ask for items. Since I know he loves puzzles, I only hold up 2 puzzles for him to make a choice and label “Puzzle” over and over. I want him to like being at the table and if I upset him, chances are he’s not going to want to return to the table. The only instruction I give is for him to “sit down” if he wants to do the activity. He is allowed to get up and walk around if he needs to, but the activity stays at the table and will be available on his return.
At my last session, when I arrived at their house, he was sitting at the table ready for me with a big smile on his face as I walked through the door.
* Future posts to come on table time and the steps I use to prepare him for foods. *