"Children with ASD can grow beyond their limitations and develop into wonderful, productive citizens. All we have to do is see through those limitations to the bright kids they are, helping them past their difficulties without allowing them to be labeled and restricted by their diagnoses."― Quote by Karina Poirier, Unlocking the Social Potential in Autism.
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 of 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.
In this blog, we shall examine the Importance of Social Skills Group for Autism and the help they provide to those on the spectrum. Social skill groups can be classified into two categories:
1. Social groups in a school setting where attention is on games, interaction, and conversations.
2. Outside the school groups where groupings are based on age and ability. These can be focused groups such as on theatre, music, arts or sports.
Led by social skills therapists (which include social workers, psychologists, occupational therapists, and speech/language therapists), these groups enable people with Autism to:
1. Develop basic skills such as making eye contact or converse with others which can be tough for some on the spectrum.
2. Advanced skills such as asking others out for social events or even out on a date.
3. Learn the value of sharing over time. Sharing can take many forms such as crayons during an art class, an extra part of a musical instrument such as a guitar plectrum in case another peer has forgotten to bring the same.
4. Prepare people with ASD for interacting with the larger world which is required to make them independent and self-sufficient.
5. These groups inculcate the feeling of self confidence in persons with ASD. They can practice social skills learned, develop a sense of purpose and association with others, thus setting the foundation of lasting social associations and keeping loneliness at bay, to an extent.
6. These groups are safe places that are run and monitored by experienced & trained professionals in extremely safe surroundings. Guidance & direction are available for fostering appropriate activities and discouraging maladaptive behaviors.
7. These are fun-filled classes and sessions where therapy is masked with loads of fun and learning. Some of the activities which are fun include arts & crafts, board games and so on.
8. These groups provide children with basic tools to solve minor problems such as conflicts and sharing. They encourage solutions and team spirit which go a long way in developing confident human beings.