Eye contact avoidance is an issue that troubles many parents with children on the spectrum. Should your child with autism be encouraged to make eye contact; and how should the child’s avoidance be managed without inducing anxiety or stress? These and other controversial questions are sometimes answered with a narrow, neurotypical view. Neurotypical society puts

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in Social Skills by Yolande Loftus, BA, LLB

Halloween can be a fun and exciting time of the year for many children. It can be a time of parties and candy. However, transitions between various activities and sudden changes in daily routines can be particularly upsetting for some children with autism. Parents, however, can help to alleviate some of these stresses by utilizing

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in Social Skills by Ron Malcolm, EdD

Play is very complex, especially when teaching children with autism, but it is essential to social skills development. Children naturally engage in play on the playground at recess; however, for children with autism, play does not come as easily. The playground is unpredictable, loud, chaotic, and can be an extremely overwhelming place for a child

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in Social Skills by Annette Nuñez, PhD

The lazy summer mornings are but a distant memory as kids are returning to school for another year and their mothers rejoice at the thought of some well-earned peace and quiet once more. So why, when our little ones are getting back into a stable routine that helps keep them grounded, are so many moms

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in Social Skills by Ruthangela Bernadette

The playground represents a time for having fun where children laugh, play, run around, and form friendships. However, for a child with autism the playground is like being lost in a foreign country without knowing the language. The playground is chaotic, unpredictable, loud, and over-stimulating. We often see children with autism walking the perimeter of

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in Social Skills by Annette Nuñez, PhD

Cats are lovable and cute, but what most people don’t know is that these furry animals can help children with autism improve their social skills. Cats bond with the children by providing affection and attention which promotes healthy relationships. Parents with children who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) might not want to get their child

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in Social Skills by Betti Wilson

The word “playdate” is a dreaded word for many autism families.  I know numerous families that will avoid playdates for several reasons. Many parents think their child cannot participate in them because they lack the play, social, and verbal skills to be successful. Some parents will not schedule playdates because they are not themselves social.

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in Social Skills by Annette Nuñez, PhD

Children with autism spectrum disorder can sometimes find communication and social interaction difficult, and parents can feel shut out. But caregivers can make a big difference in opening the door to communication—and part of it might boil down to meat and potatoes. Why are we bringing dinner into the discussion? Keep reading! Changing the way

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in Social Skills by Katherine Walton, PhD

Most parents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) children want them to have effective social coaching in school to supplement what’s done at home. School Individualized Education Programs (IEP) usually include groups using social learning curriculum. How do we assess whether the child is learning effective skills? Are there any possible negative effects of social skills instruction, or

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in Social Skills by Marcia Eckerd, PhD

What Are Social Skills? Social skills refer to a child’s ability to communicate with others in a way that is acceptable and appropriate for social situations. When a child has social skills, he/she can form friendships and can carry a simple conversation. Social Skills and Autism It’s a common misconception that children with autism do

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in Social Skills by Kim Barloso, AB

Friendships have an important role to play in our overall well-being and quality of life. Unfortunately, many children with autism do not establish friendships and continue to have difficulties doing so once they get into their teen years.  A recent study in the Journal of Autism, reported that teenagers and adults who have a diagnosis

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in Social Skills by Sarah Kupferschmidt, MA, BCBA

Kids with autism usually struggle socially and often find the teen years especially difficult. Anxiety and depression can emerge or worsen, along with a sense of helplessness, worthlessness and loneliness. Mental health professionals often refer these teens to social skills groups. These groups teach lessons about how to “appropriately” interact in a neurotypical (NT) world.

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in Social Skills by Debra Moore, PhD

My name is Leanne — I’m 23 years old and I have Asperger’s syndrome.  I have heard that social stories help lot of kids (and maybe even adults) on the autism spectrum to be better able to handle transitions, upcoming events, and activities that most children (and adults) are able to handle easily.  I remember during one

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in Social Skills by Leanne Strong

Rick walks into his classroom, and he is angry.  He throws his backpack across the classroom while yelling that he is going to “mess up” Jeremy because Jeremy played his music too loudly on the bus.  His classmates look at him with fear in their eyes, and Twyla asks her teacher if Rick is going

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in Social Skills by Jamie Carter, MD

Social skills are especially difficult for teens on the autism spectrum, but many of these skills can be learned, and with practice, can become habit.  Social skills are critical in order to make friends, get a job, and to live a fulfilling life.  Research from Harvard University says social skills are the top factor for

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in Social Skills by Kirt Manecke

Welcome to Social Skills Corner.  We have been working with families for many years.  Parents frequently express concerns about their children not having friends or not knowing how to interact with other people either individually or in groups.  We want you to be able to help your child to make friends and improve social interactions

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in Social Skills by Jamie Carter, MD

Many studies have been conducted on the positive effect a pet can have on your health.  A pet can be comforting if you are upset, they can lighten your mood as you play with them, and of course you have their companionship and unconditional love. Studies have also shown that pets can help improve social

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in Social Skills by Lisa Timms, MS