Fun Activities to Help Children With Autism Develop Social Skills

young child with autism wearing sensory headphones

Social skills are an important part of a child’s development. They help children develop confidence and help them feel comfortable in social situations.

However, children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can find developing social skills challenging. Preschools, daycares and parents at home all play an important role in helping autistic children learn social skills. This is why Kids Konnect has put together a list of fun activities that help children with autism develop social skills in line with their peers.

What is Autism? 

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, affects 1 in 59 children in the United States. Autism refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. 

There are many subtypes of autism, and every autistic child faces a unique set of challenges and has unique strengths. The ability of autistic children to learn, think and problem solve can range from highly skilled to severely challenged. Some autistic children will be independent while others might need constant assistance.

Click here for tips about identifying autism in preschool children   

However, all autistic children, like all children, have the desire to interact with their peers. They want to socialize but might not know how to engage friends or they could be overwhelmed by the idea of new experiences. 

Children who practice social skills often feel happier and make friends easier. 

For fun sensory activities for children with autism, please click here

Activities That Teach Autistic Children Social Skills

Keep a sticker chart

Using a sticker chart to track progress helps autistic children feel successful as they get rewarded for completing an activity. If they tie their shoes before going out or share a toy, reward them with a sticker. When they reach a certain number of stickers, you give them a prize. This activity makes social situations more predictable and structured. 

Watch a Video Demonstration

Children with autism can benefit from having information presented visually. Using visual aids, either printed out on a piece of paper with diagrams or a video, is a great way to build social skills in children with autism.

Show your child a video demonstration of a certain behaviour. Then encourage them to imitate what they watch. If you film the video yourself, you can turn the experience into a fun day by trying to include your child. This way, when they watch the video back, they’re teaching themselves. 

Personalized Teaching Stories

Example of a personalized teaching story for going to a restaurant

Example of a personalized teaching story for going to a restuarant

Through pictures, videos and simple language, personalized teaching stories make everyday situations more predictable for children with autism and help them understand how to navigate these situations. They will develop the social skills needed to know what others expect of them. 

Personalized teaching stories should be based on everyday situations. Autism Speaks has put together a series of templates you can personalize to demonstrate social situations to children with autism.

Find more useful resources for children with autism at the Asperger/Autism Network and Autism Community in Action

Talk to Kids Konnect Today

Kids Konnect is a leading preschool and infant center in the Bay Area, California!

If you’re local or moving to the area and wondering about your child’s development or how we prepare our curriculum for children with autism, why not book a tour so we can answer your questions in person or over video! 

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