Children with Aspergers and Autism struggle with social interactions with others. A big part of our educational program at Maple Lake deals with teaching our students the social skills that they need to be successful in relationships. This impairment in communication skills affects their relationships at school, home, and with friends. Our Vital Behaviors program covers several Executive Functioning Skills and many of these skills deal with social behavior.
Students are rated on their Vital Behaviors on a regular basis by teacher and residential staff. Results are shared with the student, parents, and therapists. As students grow in their ability to interact socially, we see their scores improve.
The inability to connect with others has very tough consequences like bullying, teasing, and outright rejection. Our students have a hard time realizing what is the root cause of these behaviors by others. But the way our students are treated is very painful to them and causes them to act out or behave in ways that attract even more negative attention.
Social problems typically occurring in Aspergers children and teens include:
1. Aspergers children take things very literally. This may mean that it becomes difficult for them to follow a lot of what their peers are talking about.
2. Neurotypical peers may get the Aspergers child into trouble because, while often bright in some subjects, he is gullible when it comes to social behavior.
3. Some children and teens with Aspergers learn that they have to ask a question to start a conversation, but then, instead of listening to the answer, they ask question after question, in effect drilling their peers and making them feel uncomfortable.
4. Their difficulties reading social cues cause them to irritate peers. Difficulties in reading
social cues range from (a) trouble understanding the zones of personal space, causing them to stand too close to others, to (b) a lack of basic conversation skills.
5. They have passions, certain things that they focus on, but they may have a hard time
talking about anything else, which is often annoying to peers.
6. They may not understand social banter, and so they become easy targets for bullying.
Mark Hutton, a noted psychologist and expert on Aspergers and Autism states that teaching social skills and cues are at the very center of treating these problems. The material from this blog has been taken from a website post by Mark. Parents can also by an e book by him that explains these issues in far better detail. The address for this site is listed below:
You can click on the link and be taken directly to the website.
Also, checkout the youtube video below it has some good information.