Social Skills & Autism

by | Apr 14, 2022 | Stories

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Many individuals on the Autism Spectrum need help in learning how to act in different types of social situations. They often have the desire to interact with others, but may not know how to engage friends or may be overwhelmed by the idea of new experiences.

Building up social skills with practice can help enhance participation in the community and support outcomes like happiness and friendships.

What are Social Skills?

Social skills are the rules, customs and abilities that guide our interactions with other people and the world around us. In general, people tend to “pick up” social skills in the same way they learn language skills: naturally and easily. Over time they build a social “map” of how to act in situations and with others.

For people with autism it can be harder to learn and build up these skills, forcing them to guess what the social “map” should look like.

Social skills development for people with autism involves:

  • Direct or explicit instruction and “teachable moments” with practice in realistic settings
  • Focus on timing and attention
  • Support for enhancing communication and sensory integration
  • Learning behaviours that predict important social outcomes like friendship and happiness
  • A way to build up cognitive and language skills

Where can you put social skills into practice?

To kick start teachable moments and safe environments to practice social skills, there are many fantastic organisations that help bridge this gap, three in particular:

Autism Queensland have an excellent resource on their website to help families connect to social groups all over Queensland.

Check it out, here: https://autismqld.com.au

Autism Treehouse offer a range of helpful services for all ages. Specifically, ‘Sunshine Coast ASD Support Groups’ for children, parents of teenagers & adolescents and adults living with Autism.

To find out more, click here: https://www.stepsautismtreehouse.org.au/our-services

Social Studio – QLD provide a variety of activities and social catch-ups on a regular basis. Check out their ‘Social Sessions’ & ‘Social Adventures’ on their website, here: https://www.socialstudio.com.au/social

By engaging in support groups and social activities (through the above organisations for example), confidence will grow and with confidence comes a solid sense of connection, and with connection comes happiness!

The team at Sapphire Support regularly assist individuals on the Autism Spectrum with social skills in community participation. Contact Wes, our New Client Officer, to see how we can assist, here.

Happy Connecting!


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