Wednesday, November 7, 2018

5 Ways To Help Kids With Autism To Be Social

I went to my son's IEP meeting this week. For those who don't know, it's an individualized education plan. It basically makes it so he's able to cope with school life without having a meltdown. Before the IEP, there were many meltdowns.






So, there are goals placed during IEP meetings and obviously the hope is that the student reaches the goal. There was a new goal added for Tommy and that was that he needs to carry on a conversation at least twice a week. It's been observed that he will answer people if they talk to him, but he rarely initiates the conversation. This is a skill he needs to learn when he has a job. He has to be able to talk to his boss, plus customers.





He's always struggled socially, so we have practiced throughout the years, but now I pose various questions at him to make sure he responds appropriately. (For example, he hates sports, so if someone goes, "Did you watch the game last night?" he knows he should NOT say, "No, football sucks.")

I have other tips that have helped throughout the years!




1. As I mentioned before, practicing conversations at home works! When Tommy was small, I'd tell him it was important to ask people how they were doing, but he says in high school most people walk around with ear buds, so it's hard to start a conversation. "Plus sometimes I'm not in the mood to talk. But it's my goal now, so I'll try." I told him one way to start a conversation is to compliment people on their clothes and he's all, "But what if I hate their clothes?" He is getting better though.





2. Remind them not to come off as creepy.   I told Tommy NOT to smile like Sam on Atypical. (For those who don't know, the show is about a high schooler with autism. Sam also works on being social.)





3. Talk about etiquette. If a convo is started and the child with autism is no longer interested, remind them that it's not okay to abruptly say that they are done. My son is older now, but when he was younger, he would do this. Or he'd simply walk away in the middle of another kid talking. There were times when he'd be outside playing and then he'd come in and go, "Those kids were bugging me. I'm over it." Then the kids would come to the door and be like, "Why did Tommy leave?" I'd just say he was tired.




4. Set up play dates as practice. My son had a few playdates when he was small. Sometimes they went well. Sometimes they did not. There would be times when he'd have a meltdown. Or he'd get bored and abruptly stop the playdate and go into another room. Other parents would usually find this weird, so playdates weren't repeated. He's in high school now, so playdates are out. However, he does play video games online, so he converses with people that way. Yes, I make sure he's safe online. He doesn't really have real friends over, but sometimes they will play a game online with him. So it's something.






5. Remind them of topics that are taboo. For example, sometimes Tommy wants to launch into politics, but I have to tell him it's not a good idea. Also, he doesn't like when girls wear too much make up, and he's bluntly told his sister that she looks ridiculous before. ("All that powder stuff on your face is distracting.") When we were at Disney World, he kept wanting to ask Donald Duck if he remembered being in a World War 2 propaganda video. I asked him to please not do that.




My son is sure he can meet his goal. I know it can be difficult to talk to others. I mean, I'm an introvert, so there are times where I don't want to speak to someone else. But if I needed to, I could. Tommy needs to be sure he has that skill.





Do you have a child who struggles with social issues? While my son struggles, my daughter, on the other hand, speaks to everyone.




52 comments:

  1. I think it's important for EVERYONE to read this, not just parents of autistic children. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. You are a great mom! I have a grown child with a mental illness and also had to get an IEP as well as teach him social skills. It's invaluable as special needs kids don't pick them up as they grow like we would normally do. You are doing him such a service and a service for so many people by sharing this information!

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  3. This is really great information and tips, going to forward to my sister whose son has austism.

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  4. This helps a bunch especially for people who aren't around autism people. Keep on educating everyone.

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  5. I have a relative that has autism and everything in this post rings true. My niece struggles a lot of times with being social unless it is a subject that she likes. I think that this is a great post to help people become aware more of what people with autism are like and help them instead of being impatient with them.

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  6. One of my friend's kids struggles with social interaction. She often uses the term "loner" to describe him. When he's at school he has to interact with others but when he's home notsomuch. Like Tommy, he's in high school now so play dates are more like get togethers where our families get together for game night a few times during the year. It keeps her son engaged with others and helps with his social interaction.

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  7. I really actually love that he wanted to ask Donald about the WW2 video for some reason. My kids may not be autistic, but i will say my daughter has almost no filter so I have to remind her a lot of the same things about taboo topics.

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  8. These are really awesome tips. Setting up play dates sounds like such a great way to manage and guide the engagement.

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  9. I have one son who struggles with using his words when he gets upset. He is still young, but we try to help him through these feelings.

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  10. I think that is sound advice to give your son. I think that arranging play dates is really important. I did that to encourage friendships and it worked well.

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  11. That's really important to work with autistic children to make them more social. It will definitely bring some good outcomes. Great tips! :)

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  12. What an awesome list of steps to take to encourage the development of social skills! I'm so happy for him that he is meeting his goals!

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  13. These sound like some great tips to help people. I can only imagine how hard it is to help and support someone with autism.

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  14. Social issues can be hard for allistic people, so I can on,y imagine how autistic people feel about them. Play dates are a good way for young kids to learn social skills in a safe, comfortable setting.

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  15. Thanks so much for sharing these tips for how to help kids with autism. My blogging partners son is on the spectrum and this is so helpful.

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  16. The tips to help your autistic son (and others) are really, really wise. Carrying a conversation isn't easy. Quite frankly, a lot of people I know could use these tips!!

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  17. I know so many that would find this information helpful! Thank you for sharing your experience.

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  18. I am so glad that internet helps us learn many information also personal experiences. Thanks for the tips and sharing your own experiences.

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  19. This is a very interesting and informative post to read. I will share this to my friend who have autism child and I am sure it will help her on how to deal it with her child.

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  20. I love that schools have individualized educational plans for certain students! I don't remember schools having that when I was a child. And I love the tip about smiling!! Hilarious!

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  21. Conversation, talking is the best way to solve everything. You need patience and a lot of hard work! Thank you for sharing these tips!

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  22. It is wonderful that more schools are embracing the individuality of its students in stead of a one size fits all.

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  23. All parents should read this post you published. It is great that schools caters to this.

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  24. That's such good info. My friend has her son's IEP meeting today. He's four. Are they once a year?

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  25. This is such a helpful post! Kids with challenges are always difficult to handle and these tips could come so handy. I will share it with moms in my circle.

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  26. This is all great info to help kids and their parents. It's nice that you are sharing what you have learned with others.

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  27. You provided some very valuable tips that I know with help other parents as well. You are a great mom!

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  28. These are great tips. I had forgotten about that series with the young man with autism. I need to find it again, it was really good!

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  29. This is such an eye opening article. I wish we had IEP our time. Thank you for being there for your son, and for the practical advice you give him. well done.

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  30. Practice always make it better, whether it is conversation or social situations. I am sure this post will help a lot of parents!

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  31. These are some great tips. And setting up play dates can also be very fun!

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  32. I remember having a friend whose brother was autistic and it's a difficult job trying to encourage them to engage with other people. I admire you for how well you are doing it. And if he can engage with people on line in a way that affirms him, sounds good to me.

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  33. I want the idea of play dates. It looks totally fun for the kids!

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  34. I think it is so important to talk about these things! Setting up play dates is always a blast!

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  35. Practice at home is important! I think I have social issues as well so these tips might help me too.

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  36. Excellent tips, which can be used for the upbringing of any child. The best thing to do is to build your child confidence out in public. Make them speak in public, interact with the crowd and yes building friendships.

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  38. These are important details, I agree with all the points you have here. but I guess the most important one is to teach them some etiquette.

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  39. Having a conversation seems simple but is so important. Tips to caring for your son are so relevant to all parents and children developing good relationships

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  40. It's so helpful to read through these tips, with his personality and age in mind. It sounds like you are doing a great job providing support so he can reach his goals. So much of growing up is a team effort!

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  41. this is all so important to help those with autism and also to help those understand about it too- my daughter has a little boy in her class and shes always very patient with him

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  42. I think these are great tips on helping your children with autism get better at socializing. The little girl across the street has autism, so her mom likes to bring her to our house occasionally so she has the opportunity to socialize with more people.

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  43. My daughter was born deaf and wears a cochlear implant. She still used sign language to communicate with other deaf/hard of hearing kids. However, she still had to rely on communicating in spoken language with her teachers and hearing peers. I had to use some of the skills that your are teaching Tommy to help her talk to people. She is still shy and likes to have my help in certain situations. At this point since she is 22, I have her go and do things on her own, ie changing the oil in her car. But her transmission was slipping and she didn't quite know how to tell the service adviser this information. I wanted her to try and then have him call me for clarification. Unfortunately, it didn't go so well.

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  44. This is really great advice. Our society has been making great strides to help include those with such disabilities.

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  45. Wow, this is such great advice and I love how well you are covering social norms. Don't be creepy made me laugh.

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  46. Thank you for sharing these tips. I think these are important for teachers and those of us who interact with autistic kids to know as well.

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  47. This is such an important topic. My hat is off to parents like you who not only survive Autism, but seem to thrive. You are a shining example of how life with Autism can be. (Rena)

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  48. Glad you shared these tips. These tips would be very helpful to people dealing or have to dealt with autistic kids.

    -LYNNDEE

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  49. OMGosh it's so hard to teach a child with autism the parts of socializing that they simply don't "get". My middle child just turned 13 and he is high functioning autistic, I get the whole reminding them that when they're done listening that it's not polite to just abrubtly interupt someone. That's a hard one for us and it seems now that he's a teen, we're having to teach all of these social skills over again! ALways a challenge, but I found my middle loves bigger and harder than anyone else, just don't break his trust ;) Great tips to help us parents with children on the spectrum, their brains just see the logic, not emotional side, and having to teach the feelings/emotions side is hard!

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  50. This is such a help. So many people are nervous about their IEP appointments.

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  51. This is such great information! I am sending this to several friends.

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Thanks for the comment!

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