5 Things to Know About Autism Social Skills Groups

What should parents look for when choosing a social skills group for their child?

Parents of children with difficult social behaviors know that participation in a social skills group is an important factor in helping their child learn the skills to build and nurture successful friendships through their life. With so many providers, it can be difficult to choose which one to trust to guide your child's social-emotional development.

As a provider of social skills groups for people with autism spectrum disorder, I subscribe to the 5 tenets of social skills programming laid out by Dr. Scott Bellini in his Building Social Relationships curriculum, and believe that they represent a good benchmark for best practice. In my experience, these principles represent a positive foundation on which to build a strengths based and reality focused program to teach pragmatic social skills to children with an ASD or ADHD diagnosis.

  1. Individuals with ASD want to establish meaningful social relationships.

  2. If we want children and adolescents with ASD to be successful socially we must teach them skills to be successful

  3. Successful social behaviors are not always appropriate social behaviors

  4. Social success is dependent upon our ability to adapt to our environment

  5. Social interaction skills are not the equivalent of academic skills

  6. How will you recognize a social skills curriculum built on these tenets? Look for a facilitator with a philosophy which recognizes the inherent strengths in your child and supports the innate desire to make meaningful connections. The sessions should focus on pragmatic skills such as recognizing facial expressions and voice modulation. While the basic rules for social behavior can be generalized, children should not be forced into cookie cutter conformity. Every person has their own communication style that should be supported. Astute social skills will not always mean good behavior or academic performance. As parents we must prioritize and trust that success in all other areas of life follows positive social connection.

    Aaron Weintraub, MS runs child-centered social skills groups with a focus on children and teenagers with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, High Functioning Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Shyness. Strengths-based approach in a community based setting. Groups forming now for Tolland, Mansfield, Willimantic, Hartford, and Coventry Connecticut. http://kidscooperate.com 860-576-9506

    This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

    Jim G. March 06, 2012 at 03:18 PM
    Perhaps the most important thing parents should look for is a mix of participants including peers without deficits. A group of children with social deficits will learn very little in interacting with each other, even with guidance.
    Aaron Weintraub March 06, 2012 at 03:54 PM
    Great point Jim. Homogeneity of interests and heterogeneity of abilities is an important factor in fostering friendships in groups.


    More »
    Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
    Note Article
    Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
    Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
    See more »