7 Social Skills Activities For Children With Autism

Kids with autism often have difficulty with social skills. This can make it hard for them to make friends and interact with others. Luckily, there are some fun social skills activities for children with autism that can help them out. 

These activities can be a lot of fun for both of you, and they will help your child learn how to better interact with others. So, if you want to help your child overcome their social skills challenges, be sure to check out these awesome activities!

Can you be autistic and social?

Some people might say that being autistic and social are mutually exclusive traits. After all, autism is typically characterized by difficulty with social interaction and communication. However, just because someone is on the autism spectrum does not mean that they are incapable of being social.

While some people with autism do prefer to spend time alone, others are actually quite social. They may enjoy attending group events, participating in conversations, and making new friends. The key difference between autistic and neurotypical people is the way they process social information. Autistic people may have difficulty reading nonverbal cues, such as body language and facial expressions. 

Additionally, they tend to express their interest in different ways. For example, some people with ASD may ask lots of questions or want to know all about your interests. Others may not say much, but may enjoy spending time around other people. All in all, remember that autism is a spectrum, so everyone is different and their social skills can vary. 

social skills group for autism

1. Create social scenes

Social scenes are designed to help people with autism practice and improve their social skills. For example, a social scene might involve two people chatting at a coffee shop. The conversation would be scripted out in advance, and the participants would take turns speaking. By practicing conversations in a safe and controlled environment, people with autism can become more confident and comfortable interacting with others.

For this, you can invite your kiddos friends, do it with their siblings, or just the two of you! Create a scene and explain to them how to act in that case.

2. Role play

When most people think of role-playing, they probably envision a group of Dungeons and Dragons enthusiasts huddled around a table, tossing dice and speaking in strange voices. But role-playing can actually be a valuable tool for teaching social skills to autistic kids. Because autism spectrum disorder can make it difficult to decode social cues, role-playing gives kids a chance to practice interacting with others in a safe and controlled setting. 

By taking on different roles, they can experiment with different ways of responding to various social situations. And because role-playing is often done in a playful way, it can take the pressure off of kids and help them to relax and have fun while they're learning. For example, kids can role-play situations like going to the grocery store or meeting a new friend. As they do so, they'll learn how to better navigate the social world. 

Autism and social skills

3. Emotion cards

Emotion cards are designed to help kids identify and express their feelings. They often feature pictures of faces showing different emotions, along with words or phrases describing those emotions. By playing with emotion cards, autistic kids can learn to recognize and name their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. This can be a valuable tool for improving social skills.

Playing games with emotion cards is also a great way to practice using facial expressions and body language. Autistic kids often have difficulty reading nonverbal cues, so this can be a helpful way to learn about these important communication tools. And finally, playing with emotion cards can also be a fun way to bond with other people. It's a great way to create shared experiences and build friendships. 

4. What would you do?

“What would you do?” is a great way to teach social skills to autistic kids. The game encourages kids to think about how they would respond to various social situations, helping them to develop the skills they need to navigate the world around them.

The game requires players to make tough choices and to think about how their actions will affect others. As a result, it helps teach social skills like empathy and perspective-taking

5. Turn taking

When it comes to turn taking, autistic kids can be real pros…at least when it comes to taking their own turns. But when it comes to sharing and waiting patiently for their turn, they often need a little help. 

One great way to teach turn taking is through games. For example, you could play Simon Says with your child. Take turns giving commands and see if your child can follow them. You could also use a timer or stopwatch to help them understand when it's their turn, or even incorporate objects they can take turns with so the kid that has the object is the one that gets to talk. 

6. The Introduction Game

The introduction game is a great way to teach autistic kids social skills. Here's how it works: first, everyone sits in a circle. Then, one person starts by saying, “Hi, my name is…” and then gives their name. The next person then does the same thing. This continues around the circle until everyone has introduced themselves. 

This game is a great way to teach autistic kids social skills because it gives them a chance to practice introducing themselves to others. It also helps them to learn everyone's names and to remember what they look like. Additionally, this game is a great icebreaker and can help autistic kids feel more comfortable in social situations.

7. Video-modeling

Video-modeling is a technique in which children watch a video of themselves or someone else performing a desired behavior. This can be helpful because it gives them a model to imitate and breaks down the desired behavior into smaller, more manageable steps. Additionally, it can be fun for the child and provide them with a sense of accomplishment when they are able to successfully imitate the behavior.

Social skills games for autism: Extra tips

As we said before, autism can affect their ability to socialize, and aside from the social skills activities for children with autism, it’s crucial that you take into account these tips so they can thrive as they grow:

  • Model appropriate behavior: It can be helpful to model the desired behavior for autistic kids. For example, if you want them to learn how to shake hands, demonstrate how to do it yourself first.

  • Give clear explanations. When teaching your child about social skills, be sure to use clear and concise language. Avoid using technical terms or jargon that your child may not understand.

  • Encourage practice. Once your child understands the concept of a social skill, encourage them to practice it in real-life situations. This could involve role-playing with a friend or family member, or joining a social skills group at school or in the community.

  • Be patient. Learning social skills can take time, so be patient with your child's progress. Reward them for their efforts and praise them when they use the skills successfully.

  • Give them time to warm up. Don't force your child into social situations before they're ready. Let them approach people and activities at their own pace.

  • Seek professional help. If you're finding it difficult to teach your child social skills, seek help from a qualified professional, such as a speech therapist or psychologist. They can assess your child's needs and provide guidance on how to best support their development.

Social skills group for autism

A social skills group for autism can provide a much-needed opportunity for children on the spectrum to interact with their peers. In a safe and supportive environment, children can practice essential social skills such as making eye contact, taking turns, and sharing. 

The group leader can also help to foster a sense of belonging and acceptance among the participants. And, of course, there's always the potential for some hilariously awkward moments - which can provide valuable lessons in learning to laugh at oneself. Ultimately, a social skills group can be a valuable tool for helping children on the autism spectrum to develop lasting friendships.

You can find social skills groups in your community or school district. Also, you can enroll your kiddo in an online social group like Boo’s Battalion! Either way, these are excellent support groups!

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