Why social skills training groups for children with autism?

Social skills training should be an important part of the therapy mix that you choose for your child with autism. As you will know from reading autism symptoms all children who qualify for a diagnosis of autism will have some difficulty with social skills.

Children with autism require some intensive one on one therapy to help them develop specific social skills, but they also need a group environment in which to practice these skills. This is where social skills groups are so valuable.

Many speech therapists run social skills groups designed specifically for children with autism. They cover a wide range of topics from the basics such as "listening" to more complex social interactions such as conversational skills, and managing social conflict.

For a child with autism, even something as simple as "listening" needs to be actively taught. In order to listen effectively one needs to stay still, be quiet, and look at the person who is talking.

Children with Aspergers Disorder particularly will benefit from learning social rules to apply in their daily life.

Social skills groups for children with autism will generally be small. 4-6 children and will group children who are at the same developmental level. Speech therapists are excellent people to run these groups as they are the communication experts.

When should we start a social skills group?

Once again this is the million dollar question, and it will depend on your individual child. Be guided by your Speech Therapist and whether your child is having particular social difficulties at kinder or school.

For the children with high functioning autism or Aspergers Disorder these groups are highly recommended, provided you can find a good one.

As a parent you will then need to help your child to generalise their new skills to other social situations outside of the social skills group.

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