Simple things like making small-talk or even starting a conversation can be excruciatingly painful for autistic children. Social skills are not always easy and many children on the spectrum have difficulties in this area. This impacts many areas of their lives and hinders their ability to make friends.
So how do we, as parents, help our autistic child make friends? Well, aside from modeling this type of activity, we can also provide them with conversational starter cards.
How to Teach Autistic Children to Make Friends
Learning how to build friendships can be difficult. Not just for our autistic children, but for anyone. However, when your social skills are limited, this becomes increasingly difficult.
It may be difficult for your child to make the necessary small talk to figure out common interests and similar experiences. Your child may react unexpectedly when approached by a peer, which may result in peers avoiding your child.
Other important social skills include how to initiate and/or respond to a conversation.
How to Teach Conversation Skills to Autistic Children
The simple task of initiating a conversation is intimidating when you don’t know where to start. But how do you answer additional questions? How can you possibly prepare your child for these conversations?
One suggestion is to use American Sign Language:
Another option is to use printable conversation cards. I have included a free set of printable conversation cards in my autism parenting toolkit.
One way to help your child with social skills, including all of the ones mentioned above, is by participating in a playdate. Whether this playdate occurs with a neurotypical child or with another peer on the autism spectrum; there is much to be learned at a playdate.