Social Skills

Everything from building social skills, to the challenges of being social for those with Autism, ASD, and Aspergers. How to date, how to talk to your child, and how to build towards social success: we have articles, blogs, and links to help you through the tricky subject of social ASD.

Should we insist on eye contact from children with autism?

Making eye contact has been a long debate in the autism community. Eye contact is a necessary skill for navigating social landscapes at work and school. Lack of eye contact is one of the hallmarks of autism, but should we insist on it? Why do children find it difficult to make eye contact? A new study, published in November in…

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Turn It On: Using Media for Social Learning

By Anna Vagin, PhD. I’m working with a group of four third graders in a social learning group. As they play a cooperative board game, they are working on being flexible – listening to each other, sharing strategy plans, and letting go of their individual ideas when others present a better one. Oh, yes, and they are managing their uncomfortable…

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How does a person with ASD date successfully?

For individuals with as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), dating can be a real challenge. It is a misconception that people on the spectrum don’t want relationships – often they do, but they just don’t know how to meet people or understand the nuances of relationships. How do we effectively teach relationship skills?

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How to Talk to A Child With Autism

The holiday season means more opportunities for socializing with friends, family, and co-workers. No matter where or what the festivities are, chances are you’ll encounter someone on the autism spectrum. Contrary to popular belief, people with autism do want to be included and enjoy opportunities to socialize. What can be difficult for them is starting a conversation or keeping one…

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Autism’s Social Barriers

The chances of detection and treatment depend on who you are and where you live

By PAULINE TAM, Published in The Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA — It’s the unspoken rule about autism services that Anne Jovanovic knows all too well: Getting help for her son, Mica, requires her to wage a constant war with the gatekeepers of provincial programs.

Since Mica was diagnosed two years ago, Jovanovic has parsed government documents and doggedly pursued officials to press her case. In doing so, the federal public servant has established herself as a mother whose demands can’t be easily dismissed.

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Developing Dating and Relationship Skills

For individuals with as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), dating can a real challenge. It is a misconception that people on the spectrum don’t want relationships – often they do, but they just don’t know how to meet people or understand the nuances of relationships. How do we effectively teach relationship skills?

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Setting the Stage for Social Success

Persons diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (AS) lack the understanding of nonverbal communication that so many of us take for granted. A nod of the head, a smirk, a change in voice tone is so often misinterpreted or totally missed by those with this diagnosis. If you do not read these non-verbal signals, you are not likely to send the appropriate non-verbal messages either. Additionally, youngsters with AS often interpret language literally and miss the more abstract references. These youngsters often have difficulty building relationships with their peers. For this reason many of these individuals also suffer with poor self-esteem. Yet traditional “social skills” programs have not been very successful in teaching these capable individuals the skills they need in our social world.

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The 5-Point Scale and Emotional Regulation

Emotional regulation can be defined as the ability to separate your emotional responses to a problem from the thinking you must perform to resolve the problem. The 5-point scale is a visual system that can help to organize a person’s thinking when working through difficult moments, particularly those that require social understanding.

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The Beales of Grey Gardens

Last week I watched a fascinating film about Big and Little Edie Bouvier Beale, aunt and cousin to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. They were brought to public attention back in the early 1970’s because of the uninhabitable state of their home, Grey Gardens, in East Hampton, New York.

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A Curriculum for Teaching Hygiene

Some of my most frequently asked questions by both parents and professionals are on the topic of hygiene. Questions like, “How do I get my son to brush his teeth in the morning?” or “How do we teach our students to flush the toilet or wash their hands after using the washroom?” are commonly asked.

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Shutdowns and Stress in Autism

Part 1: Can shutdowns hurt your child?

What is a shutdown?

A shutdown is a particular sequence of behavior which we observed in a child diagnosed as high-functioning within the autistic spectrum.

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Improving Communication & Behavior

Students with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, PDD and other diagnoses that fall within the autism spectrum experience significant challenges in communication and social skills. In addition, they may demonstrate behavior challenges that can prevent successful participation in school and family activities.

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Establishing the Social Connection

How do I reach you, sweet child? I have worked with you many times. Yet, I feel that we still have not met. I get a glimpse of you now and then but you continue to hide behind the many faces of autism.

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Telling Social Secrets

For many with autism, engaging in a social interaction is like playing a game without knowing the rules. Some individuals report that the social demands of making small talk or walking into a party can create stress, anxiety, and panic; they may feel as if everyone else knows the secrets necessary for success and they do not. Liane Holliday Willey (1999), a woman with Asperger’s Syndrome, illustrates how stressful it can be when one does not understand certain social requirements:

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