“Everyone has a mountain to climb and autism has not been my mountain, it has been my opportunity for victory.” – Rachel Barcellona, America Pageant winner, Autism activist, and actress
Human beings are social animals. One of the key building blockings of any civilization is social interaction. It is defined as an exchange between a minimum two people to larger groups, leading to reactions caused by the actions of one another. This day to day social interaction which we take for granted poses a challenge to children with one or another form of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (known as ASD). For people with ASD, it is hard to comprehend, build and learn social interaction skills. They may not the appropriate responses in typical social scenarios such as talking to relatives when they visit; interact with the neighbors or even playtime with kids in the local park.
It is, however, possible to open the horizons for these unique children with the following ways:
Practice during playtime – A great way to get children to overcome Social interaction issues is to introduce them at playtime. Use the toys as props to get kids familiar with social skills. For example, you can have a dinner party with stuffed toys or feed or hug a soft toy. Game time is also a good way to learn about sharing, winning –losing, taking turns or simply following rules.
Role-playing - Role playing with your children is another time and tested way to demonstrate social skills and interaction. You could sit your child and role-play possible scenarios, encourage their Responses and suggest your own solutions. For example, you could discuss with them the dilemma posed by one bar of candy and 2-3 people to eat it. What solution would they suggest
The help of videos – Take the help of videos on a gamut of social issues, watch with your kid, ask for their observations and guide them with appropriate responses. For example, you could pause a video and ask the child about the facial expressions, body language or tone of voice of the characters. This method is also useful to introduce them to new social situations such as stores, salons, malls, parks, et
Social interaction classes – Signing up your child for social interaction classes with specialist autism centers is a great way to help these children overcome these issues. Social skills programs are available in schools, autism centers as well as at home with professionals such as a speech pathologist, behavioral therapist or occupational therapist. Each child is unique and care plan has to be uniquely designed for them as per their requirements.
Gary Langer of Singapore says “My son is enrolled in a social skills group where he practices with other kids, asks questions and is in a safe space where he is developing life-skills”.
Help is at the end for children to overcome their Social interaction issues through a variety of ways that are evidence-based and approved by specialists in the field. Reach out for assistance and help your child or someone you know have a better tomorrow.