In recent years, the understanding of autism spectrum disorder and the challenges that it possesses have grown, especially in social and emotional development. Children with ASD can face enormous challenges particularly in social and emotional interactions. Managing social interactions can be difficult tasks for children with ASD. 

However, there are many ways and therapies that offer support to the families of children with ASD to enhance their social skills. 

To understand more about this, OnlyMyHealth interacted with Dr Gaurish Kenkre, General Manager and Center Head, Atharv Ability. 

Ways To Improve Social Skills In Kids With ASD

Apart from challenges like upbringing and inbuilting good values, parents of the kids with ASD have to focus on the social and communication skills of their children. However, to their aid, there are a few ways that can help them to enhance the social skills of their children. Here are some ways listed by Dr Kenkre. 

1. Social Skills Training 

One of the key areas of focus in supporting children with ASD is improving their social skills. Dr Kenkre said, “Social skills training programs, often implemented in schools or therapeutic settings, aim to teach children with ASD the fundamentals of social interaction, such as initiating conversations, understanding nonverbal cues, and interpreting social situations.” As per National Institute of Health, social skills training for autism spectrum disorder has traditionally focused on face-to-face interventions.

Also read: World Autism Day: From Signs And Symptoms To Therapy Options, What New Parents Need To Know

2. Applied Behaviour Analysis

Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) therapy is a widely used way to enhance social skills in the children with ASD. According to Dr Kenkre, ABA employs positive reinforcement techniques to teach and reinforce the desired social behaviours. “With the help of structured activities and role-playing exercises, children with ASD can learn and practise social skills in a supportive environment,” Dr Kenkre assured. 

Social skills

3. Mediating With Peers

Interacting with their peers will help children with ASD the best. “Peer-mediated interventions involve pairing children with ASD with other developing toddlers to provide them with opportunities for natural and social interaction with appropriate behaviours,” Dr Kenkre said. 

4. Aquatic Therapy

Aquatic therapy involves activities conducted in water under the guidance of therapists or trained professionals. Through activities such as swimming, floating and water games, children with ASD can improve their balance and coordination. The social aspect of this therapy polishes peer interactions and communication skills. “Group sessions allow children to practise social skills such as turn-taking, sharing, and cooperation in a supportive and inclusive environment. These interactions can help build confidence and self-esteem while promoting positive social behaviours,” Dr Kenkre said.

Also read: World Autism Awareness Day 2024: Shows About Autism And Inclusion You Need To Watch Now

Conclusion

Undoubtedly, worrying about your child’s social development is natural if he or she has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Social interaction is a challenging task for children with ASD but ways and therapies mentioned above can help them overcome those difficulties and improvise their social skills. It is advisable to contact a healthcare professional or an expert in this area to help you guide your child with these ways and therapies. 

(Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. We advise you to visit your doctor or expert if your child has ASD.)

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By Bury