Most autistic children need help in learning how to interact in different social gatherings. They want to communicate with their peers but do not have the ability to do so, as they are short of words or don’t have enough courage to speak. Behavior therapy helps those children to become confident enough to interact with their friends. It builds up social skills in children so that they don’t hesitate in communicating. Behavior therapy encourages a child’s participation, and makes it easier for them to make friends and stay happy. We at Small Steps Big Dreams in Dubai, UAE help a child to overcome all his deficiencies in speech and development. We believe in the child’s capability to have a grasp over their skills that will make them successful in their lives.
Social interaction or skills guide children on how to interact with their parents, peers and the rest of the world. Children have the tendency to pick up concepts very easily and gradually would learn how to react in different social interactions or situations.
Speech Delay as a Barrier in Social Interaction
Children with autism struggle a lot with speech delays which becomes a barrier to their communication. Speech delay includes limited gestures demonstrated by the child, not responding when their name is called or avoiding making an eye contact. Symptoms for it may include:
- Delay in speech development after the age of two years, which is the usual age when children tend to start speaking words
- Speaking in an odd tone of voice
- Repetition of words over and over without the intention of saying them
- Facing trouble in starting off with a conversation or unable to continue it
- Having difficulty in conveying their needs or desires
- Unable to understand basic questions or statements
- Not able to express or recognize emotions
Development Delay as a Barrier in Social Interaction
Autistic children are often prone to a change in behavior as well. Their actions or behaviors lag behind their neurotypical peers, which is caused due to autistic development delay. Their actions may consequently be different from other children of their age because of comparatively slower neurodevelopment. Symptoms of development delay might include:
- Recurring body movements or constantly moving
- Attachment to random objects like keys or rubber bands
- Desire to practice same routine and get upset due to any change
- Hyper-reactive to certain situations or sounds like alarm bell
- Unable to recognize noverbal communication signs
How to Teach Social Behavior to Children with Autism?
Most of the children with autism restrict themselves from interacting with their peers, some perhaps knowing that they have a deficiency in social skills. A few ways to eliminate their hesitation and enhance their social skills may include the following:
- Strengths of children must be encouraged to make them realize that they are no less than other children. Autistic children may be gifted with so many other talents like a good sense of humor or strong learning skills, to name a few.
- An autistic child should be paired with one of the other peers who are equipped with strong social skills. Peers must be informed of the goals that are to be achieved and the interaction must be kept as natural as possible.
- Small children groups could be made to conduct various activities where participation is encouraged. A topic can be circulated and the children can have a discussion on it, e.g. the most recent TV show they’ve seen. This will enhance their communication skills and test children’s memory as well.
- Reward children when they do something good, which will motivate them more. Positive reinforcement helps a child learn the difference between what is right and wrong.
Social behavior can only be learned through a suitable and effective behavior therapy plan. Autistic children are very sensitive in nature and must be handled with care. Suitable playing games must be conducted with them where they learn how to communicate with others, and follow rules like not interrupting in between or speaking when it’s their turn. This will help children to be confident enough to partake in social gatherings.