Teaching Social Skills
Autistic children find difficulty in initiating conversations, creating personal relationships, maintaining eye contact, empathizing with others, etc. This does not mean that they do not desire social interaction; the major issue here is that they lack the social skill to socially interact with others.
Before teaching an autistic child to develop his/her social skills, it is necessary from the teacher’s part to analyze the behavior of the child with the help of his/her parents.
Involving the parents can go a long way in identifying the behavioral characteristics of the child, which would make the job of the teacher much easier. At times, anxious parents also must be educated regarding how to help their child in acquiring social skills.
As mentioned above, one-on-one sessions with the child before allowing him/her to practice the skills in public or in groups will considerably help the child in overcoming his/her fears to communicate and interact socially. It should be noted that social skills training is not confined only to the child alone.
Creating autism awareness among his/her peers is an important step. Most of the autistic children do not engage in inquiring about others nor do they interact with others. When other children are aware about the child’s condition, then it makes his/her life easier. Playgroups should be organized so that his/her peers can initiate conversations, thereby facilitating two-way interaction. Lack of awareness may lead to several related problems such as the child becoming the target of bullying, which may even lead to social withdrawal.