Let’s learn ABA: Daily Social Skills

Social Skills are often an area that learners with ASD struggle with. These areas include engaging in conversations, understanding common social cues, or interacting with peers. Many of these areas, we find necessary to successfully connect with the world around us.

Fortunately, these skills can be easily addressed daily and incorporated into a regular routine. Working different social skills into a daily routine ensures that skills are not only learned but are maintained and can generalize to other environments. Here are a few suggestions of ours to help incorporate social skills into a daily routine!

Set up for success

  • Utilizing small goals that can be achieved easily by the learner. Example: Instead of the goal “talk to 3-5 peers during recess”,  start with a goal such as “talk to 1 peer at recess” or “say Hi to one peer during recess”
  • Identifying Reinforcers: using items that the child prefers to play with, helps build motivation to work or engage in tasks.

Praise and Reinforcement

  • Reinforcing a behavior, will help that behavior occur more often. During social opportunities, we often use verbal praise to identify appropriate behaviors.
    • Example: When playing with blocks, state phrases such as “I love that you are playing with me”, “This is so fun”, and “Great job playing!”
  • Providing fun alternatives after play time, such as a song, video, or treat!

Facilitate Play

  • During social interactions, facilitate play by modeling appropriate social behaviors.
    • Talking through your actions
      • “I am moving my piece”
      • “It is my turn”
      • “I got a four! 1, 2, 3, 4”
    • Showing what play looks like
      • Push friends on the swing, Chase after friends
    • Giving conversation topics
      • “You like to play Roblox, tell us more about your favorite part!”
      • “Who enjoys eating popsicles?!”
      • “Lets talk about your pets at home”

What can I work on?

When it comes to social skills, there isn’t much that can’t be incorporated, however, try individualizing activities for your child’s skill deficits.

  • Example: If your child struggles to tolerate sharing, that would be a good place to start!

Other common social skills to work on:

  • Conversation Skills (back and forth conversations, answering questions, responding to peers, etc.)
  • Sharing (social cues on when to share, tolerating others taking toys, taking turns, etc.)
  • Engaging in play (duration of play, interacting with peers, asking to play with peer’s items, etc.)

Activities to increase social skills

Common activities that can be used to increase social skills include:

    • Simple board games and card games
      • Increase toleration by using the child’s preferred character or color
    • Hide and Seek
    • Simon Says
      • Great for following directions
    • Play-Doh
    • Rolling a ball back and forth or playing catch
      • Great for Conversation skills!
    • Making a craft together
      • Encourage your child to request materials
    • Sharing favorite toys

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Incorporating Daily Social Skills for Learners with ASD