Social Mixers

Social Mixers offer an opportunity for young people with autism to practice social skills and become more involved in their community.

The process of teaching individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) socialization skills varies widely depending on the individual's strengths and abilities. But most experts agree, practicing new social skills is the key to success. One of the many ways to practice is to participate in local social mixers that occur in your community.

Local Social Mixers provide:

  • Opportunities for generalization and ongoing practice – so learned skills can be applied
  • An increase in social motivation: a fun and nurturing environment for kids to practice
  • Interaction with a variety of other people
  • A way to reduces anxiety and promote social peer relationships

Ways to get young people with autism involved in a community social:

  • Learn what is available in your community. Sign up to receive mailings from local autism and disability organizations. Many offer a monthly social activity for young people with autism.
  • Be a pioneer. Start your own program. Plan and chaperone a monthly activity like a movie night, dance, video games and pizza, roller skating, etc. Check with your health care providers, schools, and service providers.

There are social benefits for your entire family, and when your child participates you will take great pride in their accomplishments!

Additional Resources

Articles
The Interactive Autism Network's (IAN) newly released article: Social Skills Interventions: Getting to the Core of Autism, offers a comprehensive review of widely used social interventions.

Visit our Resource Guide. We welcome new submissions as we continue to build the Resource Guide.

First “Puzzle Piece” Dance Swings With Lots of Fun
by Colleen Dolnick


Totally Hip Hager team of the St. Louis Walk Now for Autism held its first “Puzzle Piece” dance which was open to all ages, abilities, families and individuals. Ellen Hager, Team Captain, and mom of 13-year-old twins with autism said, “I had an urge to have an event that has something for EVERYONE! I felt there was a need for an evening event that our kids could participate in. Many children with autism love music and to dance. I thought it would be fun to create a night with music, refreshments, and socialization”.

Barb Goode, mother of Dillion, and the St. Louis Walk Manager, was in attendance and shared, “Dillon was asked 3 times to dance … by rather beautiful young girls, I might add. My whole family had a ball!”

Ellen involved her sons William and Louis in all aspects; planning the event, participating, and helping with clean up. She said, “I gave the boys stacks of flyers to give to their friends to pass out and promote the Walk”.

“The best part about watching the evening unfold was how each guest became more relaxed as the evening progressed. Some of the kids and adults hung on the side lines, but by the end of the night people were mingling and the dance floor was moving to the Electric Slide.” Hager said. It was truly a night to remember and cherish by all who were in attendance while raising $2,195 for Autism Speaks!

Many children with autism love music and to dance. I thought it would be fun to create a night with music, refreshments, and socialization”.
Ellen Hager, Mom to 13 year old twins with autism

We would like to hear from you! Share your story about a Social Mixer or other social activity with us. E-mail us at familyservices@autismspeaks.org. Photos are welcome!