Parents of children with autism know that forming friendships can be a particularly challenging experience for the entire family. We recently polled our readers for their strategies on helping their children make friends. Here are your Top 10 Tips:
2. Look into RDI (Relationship Development Intervention ) for a unique methodology that many parents have reported as effective in improving the ability of their children to develop friendships.
3. Explain autism in advance of social gatherings with people who have never met your child to prepare them for what may seem unusual actions or words. Suggest ways in which to handle any “awkward” situations that might arise during the forthcoming activity.
4. Use role playing to emphasize to your child that friendship is a two-way street.
5. Teach your child about body language and non-verbal cues used by others.
6. Take advantage of any social settings available to your child to increase his experience in human interactions: after school activities, play groups, church outings, etc.
7. Don’t overdo it: everyone needs some time to just be by themselves so don’t push your child when you know he needs some alone-time.
8. Encourage classes or after-school activities centered around interests and hobbies so there’s already a commonality working for your child.
9. Check with local therapists for a social skills program to engage your child on a regular basis with other children under the supervision of someone trained in developing social skills.
10. Find an adult mentor who shares a special interest or hobby with your child. Adult companionship is preferable to some children on the spectrum and can lead to improved social skills with younger age groups.
Check back with The Autism File on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/autismfile later this week for another opportunity to share your expertise with others. For more about RDI, see our upcoming Fall issue available October 4.