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  • Writer's pictureNicole Yip

The Importance of Social Skills

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

What are social skills?

Social skills are an essential aspect of life that enable individuals to connect with others, form relationships, and interact successfully in a social environment. However, for children with ASD, social skills may not come naturally as they may struggle with communication, social interactions, and appropriate behaviour.

Children with ASD often have difficulty with social communication, including understanding social cues, expressing themselves, and engaging in social interactions. This can lead to isolation, loneliness, and difficulties forming and maintaining relationships. Therefore, it is crucial to help children with ASD develop social skills that enable them to navigate social situations successfully.

Social Skills and ABA

One approach to developing social skills in children with ASD is through the use of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). ABA aims to teach new skills and behaviors through positive reinforcement, shaping, and prompting. It focuses on breaking down complex skills into smaller, more manageable steps and reinforcing each step to help the child learn and generalise the behaviour.

ABA-based social skills intervention focuses on specific social skills that can be taught to help children improve their social abilities.

Here are some essential goals that can help your child with social skills:

  • Learning to make and maintain eye contact during conversations is an important social skill.

  • Being able to take turns during conversations, games, and other activities is important for building social relationships.

  • Paying attention and actively listening to what others are saying, asking questions, and showing interest in the conversation can help improve social interactions.

  • Understanding and interpreting body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice (non verbal communication) can help children with ASD understand social cues.

  • Being able to understand the feelings and perspectives of others is an important social skill that can help children with ASD navigate social situations.

  • Knowing how to solve social problems and conflicts can help children with ASD build positive social relationships.

  • Learning to initiate social interactions with others, such as greeting people or joining a conversation, can help children with ASD develop social connections.

  • Being able to regulate one's emotions and behavior in social situations can help children with ASD avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.

Social Skills Group

At Littlefoot, we understand that every child is unique and have different strengths and challenges when it comes to social skills. That is why our Social Skills group are individualised to meet the unique needs of each child. The program allows children to learn broken down skills in a small group setting. Therapists use positive reinforcement, such as praise or rewards, to encourage the child to engage in the appropriate social skills. As the child progresses, therapists prompts and reinforcement are faded to encourage independent behaviour. By breaking down complex skills into smaller, more manageable steps and using positive reinforcement, students can learn and generalise social skills, leading to improved social interactions, communication, and quality of life.

Written by Nicole Yip

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