When you pick up Patty from school or daycare, you always find her alone spinning toys and humming to herself. She seems happy by the situation but you’re not – you’d prefer that Patty would participate with peers. You wish that she could make friends and have fun playing with them. In general, that’s hard for kiddos with autism. However, with coaching and teaching, Patty can become more comfy relating in social situations! Here’s how you can help your honey make friends.
1. Boost joint attention: If Peter is not a pro at getting, holding and shifting attention when he’s interacting with others, it’s time to strengthen his skills. Mastering joint attention can help him make friends and relate more easily to people! It’s a key component of social, language and cognitive development.
2. Work on eye contact: Potential pals on the playground may be put off if Patty can’t look them in the peepers when they’re interacting. So, help her get more comfortable with this important social skill. Here’s how to encourage eye contact.
3. Practice playing: To make friends, your Peter has to be able to play with peers. If he prefers to line up blocks by himself rather than take turns during Snakes and Ladders, then help him come out of his shell. Click here for tips on how to teach Peter how to play.
4. Improve social behaviour with books: There are many great resources designed to help your honey better understand social dynamics and expectations. Sit down with your sweetie regularly to review Superflex, The Hidden Curriculum, We Can Make It Better or Social Skills Training.
5. Try video modeling: Does Peter get pumped up for videos? Pop in DVDs that show him what to say and do to make friends, such as Model Me Kids’ Model Me Friendship and Time For A Playdate. He may also be jazzed to learn on the computer with Model Me Interactive: Practicing Conversation. Afterwards, reenact what you watched to help Peter become fluent with the social behaviour.
6. Get with a program: One of the best ways to help Patty make friends is to enroll her in a social skills program. There, she’ll learn how to have a conversation, take turns and share appropriately, and understand social cues. What’s more, Patty will get to practice these skills with classmates her age.
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