Social Skills and Autism

Open the Doors to Your Community!

Participation in the community can be enhanced through improvement in the social skills of individuals with autism. Individuals with autism have to learn the social skills that come much more naturally to their peers. How do we help our family members with autism benefit from community participation and social interactions?

This month's Community Connections newsletter provides up-to-date information on social skills, including information from experts, teachers, and families, along with useful resources to help enhance your family member's opportunities to be part of the community.

Expert Interview: Michelle Garcia Winner, Social Thinking

Michelle Garcia Winner is a Congressional-award winning speech-language pathologist who specializes in using Social Thinking treatment to help students who are experiencing social and communication challenges. Michelle's goal is to help educators and parents appreciate how crucial developing Social Thinking and related social skills is to a student's success and growth throughout life.

Click here to read an interview with Michelle and learn more about Social Thinking treatment.


The New Social Story Book, Revised and Expanded 10th Anniversary Edition: Over 150 Social Stories that Teach Everyday Social Skills to Children with Autism or Asperger's Syndrome, and their Peers
by Carol Gray

The Gray Center For Social Learning and Understanding is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and those who work alongside them to improve mutual understanding. We approach the social impairment in ASD as a shared impairment. We work to improve social understanding on both sides of the social equation, helping both persons with ASD and those who interact with them to be able to communicate more effectively.

Click here for the Gray Center's tips on How to Write Social Stories 

Click here for sample Social Stories from polyxo.com.

Family Tips

We asked families in the Autism Speaks Facebook Group for tips and ideas regarding socialization for their family members with autism. One parent said:

I always make my son pay and talk to the cashier. It is always a forced conversation for him but he has to talk to a stranger almost every day.

Click here for more social skills improvement ideas from families affected by autism.

Social Skills Groups

Social skills groups offer an opportunity for individuals with autism to practice their social skills with each other and/or typical peers on a regular basis.

Although research on social skills groups is fairly limited at this time, a review of five studies on social skills groups by researchers at the University of Utah and the U.C. Davis MIND Institute attempted to identify what made an effective social skills group.

Click here for the findings!

For Socialization and School Integration Ideas, visit Talk About Curing Autism's page www.talkaboutcuringautism.org/learning/socialization.htm.

Computers and Technology

There are many tools and interventions out there that involve using videos, software or virtual-reality programs to teach complex social skills, such as recognition of emotions in facial expressions and tone of voice.

Examples include:
Model Me Kids: Videos for Modeling Social Skills
www.modelmekids.com

Social Skill Builder: Quality Learning Tools
socialskillbuilder.com

Watch Me Learn: Visual Teaching, Video Modeling, and an iPhone app!
www.watchmelearn.com

Click here to visit the Autism Speaks Resource Library page of other Developmental and Educational Tools for families.

Click here to listen to a National Public Radio podcast about The Transporters, a video program that teaches children with autism spectrum disorders to "read" emotion featuring Simon Baron-Cohen, an autism researcher from Cambridge University.