5 Things to Know About Autism Social Skills Groups

Parents of children with difficult social behaviors know that participation in a social skills group is an important factor in helping their child learn the skills to build and nurture successful friendships through their life. With so many providers, it can be difficult to choose who to trust to guide your child's social-emotional development.

As a provider of social skills groups for people with autism spectrum disorder, I subscribe to the 5 tenets of social skills programming laid out by Dr. Scott Bellini in his Building Social Relationships curriculum. In my experience, these principles represent a positive foundation on which to build a strengths based and reality focused program to teach pragmatic social skills to children with an ASD or ADHD diagnosis. 

  1. Individuals with asd want to establish meaningful social relationships.

  2. If we want children and adolescents with ASD to be successful socially we must teach them skills to be successful

  3. Successful social behaviors are not always appropriate social behaviors

  4. Social success is dependent upon our ability to adapt to our environment

  5. Social interaction skills are not the equivalent of academic skills

How will you recognize a social skills curriculum built on these tenets? Look for a facilitator with a philosophy which recognizes the inherent strengths in your child and supports the innate desire to make meaningful connections. The sessions should focus on pragmatic skills such as recognizing facial expressions and voice modulation. While the basic rules for social behavior can be generalized, children should not be forced into cookie cutter conformity. Every person has their own communication style that should be supported. Astute social skills will not always mean good behavior or academic performance. As parents we must prioritize and trust that success in all other areas of life follows positive social connection.

Aaron Weintraub, MS runs child-centered social skills groups with a focus on children and teenagers withPervasive Developmental DisorderAsperger Syndrome, High Functioning Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Shyness. Strengths-based approach in a community based setting. Groups available in Tolland, Mansfield, Willimantic, Hartford, Vernon and Coventry Connecticut.