Social skills are best taught under the conditions that the child finds you or a situation interesting and wants to engage you.
He was there sitting and playing with his iPad.
I was sure I was downright more attractive and interactive than what was in his hands. In my moment of jealousy (yes I was pitting myself against an iPad), I sprung up on him and suavely said “Let’s play!”
He looked at me indecisively, with glances darting from the Ipad to me and back to it. It was a moment of truth, was I more attractive than that black (or occasionally white) piece of equipment? “OK!” He said.
I felt I won the match.
To be honest, wouldn’t you hope for your child to come to you and initiate to play?
Wouldn’t you hope he/she is able to sustain a meaningful conversation?
Wouldn’t you hope he/she is able to navigate the social scene with deft and skill like Ben 10 or Dora the explorer?
It all boils down to social skills
Lacking of the intent and the “know-how” of how to socialise are the key challenges faced by children with autism. They have no qualms playing alone, being fixated with an iPad and having no or fleeting eye contact with anybody.
They tend to interact better with adults than children as adults understand them better and “give in” more to them in various situations. However, their socialisation skills with children of their age are weak and even to the level of non-existent. Thus social skills development is a bridge to pull them into our world of dynamism, where children from three years old are commenting on their new toys and engaging with peers via play and social talk.
Now, the term “social skills” is what I called the coolest term to use but the least understood term. Most people or rather parents thought social skills are the antidote of autism. Well, technically it is. But what are actually social skills and how do you teach social skills?
Can you teach social skills? Find out on the next page…