One main fear that many parents of autistic children have is that their child is not going to be able to engage with society or have any friends. This can be very scary for parents because they want the best for their child and most people feel sad or lonely when they don't have any friends. If you are worried about your autistic child's ability to engage with society, follow these tips to help him or her out.
1. Help Them Determine What a Friend Is
The first step is getting your child to understand what a friend is. You don't want your child to immediately attach him or herself to someone that is not kind to him or her and does not have his or her best interests at heart. By making sure that your child understands that a friend is someone that you enjoy spending time with that also enjoys spending time with you, you can make sure that your child is actively engaging with people correctly and judging social situations with better accuracy.
2. Give Your Child Scripts For Talking to Others
The next thing that you should do is give your child direct scripts for talking to other people. For example, practice an introduction that your child can use whenever he or she meets someone new. This introduction can go something like "Hi, my name is Bobby. I'm in second grade. What grade are you in?" By teaching your child to give a little bit of information about him or herself and then ask about the person that he or she is talking to, he or she increases the chances that the engagement will be successful. Brainstorm questions that your child can ask the people he or she interacts with and practice doing follow-up questions. For instance, if your child asks what a person did on the weekend and that person says that he or she went to the park, you can teach your child to ask the other person what he or she did at the park or if he or she had fun. This will help your child demonstrate to the other person that he or she is truly listening, which will endear him or her to the other person.
3. Expose Your Child to Others With Common Hobbies
Finally, be sure that you are taking your child to activities that he or she enjoys that also involve other people. It is going to be far easier for your child to make friends with people that share common hobbies than it will be for your child to make friends with someone that he or she doesn't have anything in common with.
For more information, talk to a counselor for children with autism.
As a lifetime sufferer of depression, I have spent a great deal of time in therapy. One thing that I learned early on was the importance of having a good attitude and trying to figure out how to cope with some of the suggestions that my counselors gave me. I realized that when it came to having a good experience, the bulk of the responsibility fell in my lap. I started working hard to take their suggestions in stride and carefully analyze my life and my behavior. This blog is all about improving the counseling process by having a better attitude.