3 tips for helping your child with autism make friends!
A lot of children struggle with making friends. Maybe they fear initiating conversations or maybe they fear rejection.
Many children with autism face the added struggle of not being able to read social cues, body language, and hand gestures.
How can children with autism overcome these obstacles and make and maintain friendships? Here are a few tips to help children develop friends!
Read and watch social stories about friendship
Social stories give students the needed tools to make a friend. Many children with autism may struggle to approach others. They might want to speak to someone, but they may not have the tools to do so.
The Diverse Learning Hub social story, “I Do Not Interrupt”, provides students with the appropriate words to approach someone and have a conversation with them.
The social story, “Being a Good Listener”, teaches children listening strategies such as facing and paying attention to the speaker.
The social story, “Staying on Topic”, teaches children to ask questions and speak about material that is relevant to the conversation.
These social stories will give your children building blocks to create and maintain friendships.
2. Listen to your child’s interests
Many people make friends through similar interests. Children with autism also make friends by finding people who like to do the same things as they do.
Does your child like art? Sign him up for an art class. Your child may bond with peers with similar interests!
3. Talk to your child’s IEP team about prioritizing social interactions
Talk with your child’s IEP team about prioritizing social interactions and making friends. You can work with the team to develop IEP goals tailored to helping your child develop social skills.
Does your child struggle with initiating a conversation? Talk to your child’s IEP team about adding a conversation initiation goal to the IEP. After the goal is added, the speech pathologist, special education teacher, and other relevant members of the team will work towards helping your child initiate a conversation.
Bring your concerns to the IEP team and they will work with your child on these concerns at school!