Improving Social Skills in Children with Asperger Syndrome

Asperger Syndrome can be a challenging, difficult diagnosis to deal with.  While many of the causes behind Asperger Syndrome are unknown, there are many therapies that you can do to increase social success in your child.

Children with Aspergers Syndrome have a difficult time understanding other children’s social interactions.  Interpreting implied sayings and physical gestures can prove to be a challenge.  While there are many therapies that you can involve your child in to assist with the everyday tasks, bringing therapy that you can practice into the home is paramount to success.

While children with Aspergers Syndrome may not have a speech delay, they may have a hard time interacting with others.  This may include difficulty understanding physical cues from others, taking turns in conversation, and branching their knowledge out to subjects they aren’t familiar with.

When you are working with your child on social skills, try to avoid implied sayings.  If your child is old enough, try to educate them on what these sayings mean.  These can be difficult to grasp, as those that suffer from Aspergers tend to have problems understanding non-literal language.

Conversational work will also pay off in the long run.  When conversing with a child with Aspergers, many times they will want to focus on subjects that they know well.  They also may have difficulty knowing when to take a turn in a conversation, or may interrupt to express their views on a subject.  Having a physical item connected to the conversation (Like a toy or ball) is a great way to teach the connection of a turn during a conversation.  The person talking gets the toy.  When their turn is up, or they want feedback, they pass the toy to the other child, and vice versa.  Using a timer may also assist children in knowing when to take turns in a conversation.  When the timer goes off, it is the other person’s turn to weigh in on the conversation.

Since many children with Aspergers have a hard time talking about subjects that they don’t know well, try to give your child information on other subjects to talk about.  This will help them weigh in on conversations they may otherwise miss out on or interrupt in order to speak on something they know.  Magazines, books, and online programs can help familiarize your child with other interests.  This can also teach them the natural progression of a conversation, and that if they wait their turn, they can weigh in on subjects that interest them.

Games may be hard for children with Aspergers as well.  Board games are a wonderful way to encourage interaction as well as taking turns.  Choose a simple game like chess or a card game.

Flash cards with displayed emotions and gestures may also help a child recognize cues that may go unnoticed.  Displeasure, happiness, anger, and sadness are just a few.  You can also use these for gestures like hugs, handshakes, and high fives.

Social skills are essential to a child’s development.  While outside therapy will help, bringing skills and therapy into the home is key to implanting skills and keeping these therapies in practice with your child.