As parents, we have many questions about our autistic children, and in this article, we’ll address one of those questions: How does autism affect social skills?

We want the best for our children, and with so many articles and books describing autism, ways to improve social skills at home, and how to work with social skills professionals , it’s hard to know where to start.

This article will highlight some basic questions and concerns regarding the development of social skills. Also, he will discuss when it might be a good time to get help and help with these skills.

It is always important to discuss any concerns you may have for your child with their doctor and teachers. There are programs that doctors and teachers can discuss with parents to help children develop social and other skills that parents might worry about.

How does autism affect social development and social skills?

While researching and reading about social skills training and development, I had the privilege of speaking to Lindsay Roane, Speech-Language Pathologist. I was able to ask her a few questions and will share what she told me in this article.

When I asked Lindsay how autism spectrum disorders affect social development and social skills, she replied:

“A difference in social development is a core feature of autism. In my experience, many of my clients with autism find it harder to care for and engage with others, and have a harder time to participate in back-and-forth interactions Many older children I have worked with have developed the skills mentioned, but do not follow our “typical” rules of socialization (conversation skills, “good manners”, etc.).

In one article, How Teaching from the Perspective of People with Autism Spectrum Disorders Affects Social Skills: Research Findings and Suggestions for Practitionersauthors Lindsay C. Peters and Rachel H. Thompson, found that applied perspective taking can help overcome the difficulties mentioned above.

In the article, the authors state these examples of teaching social skills through “applied perspective taking includes deception, providing appropriate detail to the listener in conversation, persuasion, and helping” . This can go along with what Lindsay was saying by creating opportunities where the autistic child can learn and practice these skills.

What can parents do if their child has just been diagnosed?

Parents can start helping their children learn basic social skills that they may need support with. I asked Lindsay what advice she would have for parents who have just been diagnosed with their child’s autism spectrum disorder and she suggested:

“Don’t panic! Consider your child’s strengths and build on them. Find providers (therapists, teachers, etc.) who share similar views with you. Explore your child’s individual differences and make sure they are settled well before you focus on the interactions.Then step into their world and try to create authentic and joyful interactions for you and your child.

A parent can first teach social skills by working on social interaction skills and social communication with your autistic child. It can start by figuring out what they like, whether it’s trains, elephants, planets, and creating interactions around those interests.

It is important to note that there are multiple providers who can work together to form a plan around the goals you and your child have for building the targeted skills. They can provide a foundation for teaching social skills and provide insight that the parent can use at home.

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What should parents do to determine which social skills to teach their autistic children?

Continuing my conversation with Lindsay, the last question I asked was how can parents best approach and start teaching and improving their children’s social skills? Lindsay’s response was:

“It certainly depends on the child’s current skills and where they are in their social-emotional development. But either way, I believe it’s important to join your child’s world rather than trying to get them to join yours. Use their interests and strengths to initiate an interaction. Social interactions should be based on shared joy, not on following neurotypical “rules” for interactions. Consider what is intrinsically motivating for the child to make a real connection first and foremost.

Thus, an autistic child’s social skills may improve with interactions at home, as well as other social skills interventions, such as speech therapy. It is important for parents to provide rich environments where certain social situations are integrated into the child’s life.

These environments can provide opportunities where the child has the ability to respond appropriately to the social situation and build on the skills learned. Once they have developed these skills, it can improve their overall confidence in social interactions.

How Does Autism Affect Social Skills?

Will making friends be easier for my child?

Through these different interactions and interventions for children with autism, the chances of increasing verbal, communication and other skills are more likely to occur. As they practice and use communication skills, play skills, and emotional skills, the autistic child can begin to make friends, interact in group activities, and progress to interacting socially.

When children with autism learn to navigate social challenges and increase their social skills in daily life through interactions with typically developing peers and others in the classroom, they have a chance for personal relationships. . This could include making friends, but don’t stop there.

Parents and teachers can increase these skills by using visual aids, role plays and the use of peer mentors. These supports are there to help the autistic child learn to act in certain social situations that he might not otherwise have the chance to practice.

These new skills will need to be practiced and used consistently to help build the autistic child’s confidence. In turn, this could make it easier for them to know how to respond and react in social settings and situations.

It is practice makes perfect

It has been said throughout this article that children with autism have difficulty with social interactions and may not be at the same level as their peers with social skills. Parents, teachers, and service providers can begin by teaching social skills and include other interventions as part of a plan to develop and maintain these skills.

None of this should seem impossible for children with autism and their parents. Through interventions, the autistic child can develop the social skills needed to interact and have meaningful lifelong friendships, conversations, and interactions.

As the old saying goes, “It takes a whole village to raise a child”. This saying certainly extends to all levels and covers all children and their families.

It really takes multiple people working together with a unified goal in mind to help an autistic child learn the skills to navigate life’s social situations. With these skills and this personal drive, this child could accomplish what he has decided to do personally and for the rest of his life.


Peters, LC and Thompson, RH (2018). How Teaching from the Perspective of People with Autism Spectrum Disorders Affects Social Skills: Research Findings and Suggestions for Practitioners.