Social Skills Training for Autism Spectrum Disorder

by cadabamshospital

05 April,2017 | 4 years read

Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) struggle in social interactions. ASD is a development condition that causes communication and behavioural challenges. From symptoms to its severity, it can vary from one individual to another.

People with ASD, however, can be trained to communicate better and be comfortable when socializing. At Cadabam's Hospitals, we have a multispecialty team that adopts a holistic approach in delivering social skills training to people with ASD. We address all aspects of this condition with our doctors covering ASD of all severities and types.

Each child or individual on the autism spectrum is unique, each having their own strengths and needs. As a result, parents and families must address them and strike to seek an individualized treatment plan. These treatment options for Autism Spectrum Disorder could range from a multifaceted treatment that ranges from speech and language therapy to behavioral interventions, medication, and even special diets. One such intervention one should consider is social skills training.

Children or individuals with autism spectrum disorder lack observable knowledge of social ability. In social skills training, children or individuals learn social engagement and interaction. With time, social skills training helps them become reciprocal, recognize emotions in others, empathetic, and have the ability to facilitate divided attention. This results in them being socially competent.

Social skills therapy requires a diverse team of professionals like speech therapists, occupational therapists/psychologists, and social workers specialized to work with autistic children. Their techniques help build social interaction skills that range from basic skills (like making eye contact) to complex and subtle skills (like asking for a job).

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Accurate Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Getting a diagnosis for autism spectrum disorder is quite challenging and takes a lot of time. In most of the cases, the official diagnosis is done only after two to three years after noticing the first symptoms of ASD. Many times, the child is incorrectly diagnosed and the family isn’t referred to professionals who specialize in developmental disorders.

If you happen to notice any symptoms of ASD in your child, you must seek out a clinical diagnosis as soon as possible and get your child into treatment. That’s because early intervention right during the preschool period will increase the odds of your child managing their developmental delays better and help develop their autism spectrum social skills.

Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder

To diagnose whether it’s ASD or your child has some other developmental disorder, doctors and clinicians carefully observe your child’s interaction, communication, and behavior with others. The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is based on these patterns of behavior.

In either of the scenarios, where you suspect your child has ASD or you have a confirmed diagnosis from the developmental screening, it is recommended to ask your family doctor to refer you to an autism specialist for a more comprehensive evaluation. The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is a complicated one, and hence, it is crucial to seek help from professionals who are trained and experienced in this field.

Generally, the team that will work with you and your child to accurately diagnose your child for ASD will include child psychologists and psychiatrists, developmental pediatricians, speech pathologists, audiologists, physical therapists, special education teachers, and pediatric neurologists. While the list may sound intimidating, it is essential to note that with the right treatment, autism can be managed and a person with ASD can function as a typical person. 

There isn’t a single medical test that can definitively diagnose ASD, so several tests and evaluations will be carried out to pinpoint your child’s issue. Based on these results, the right social skills therapy for autism may be provided.

Evaluation Process for ASD

Parent interview: This is the first stage of the evaluation process where you need to give detailed information about your child’s medical, developmental, and behavioral history. The doctor will also need to know about your family’s medical and mental health history.

Medical evaluation: Your child will go through general physical tests, neurological tests, lab, and genetic testing to identify the exact cause of their developmental conditions and if any other conditions co-exist with it.

Hearing test: A formal hearing assessment will be conducted to test your child for any hearing impairments or issues and any sound sensitivities that occur with autism.

Determining any unusual behavior: The team specializing in developmental disorders will put your child in different settings and observe if they display any behavior associated with ASD.

Screening for lead poisoning: Lead poisoning has been linked to the development of autistic-like symptoms. Therefore, it is recommended for every child with developmental delays. 

The symptoms and their severity vary in different individuals and based on that, the diagnostic procedures may include speech and language evaluation, cognitive testing, adaptive functioning assessment, and sensory-motor evaluation. These tests are also useful in determining the right autism social skills activities and social skills training for autism.

Speech and language evaluation: The speech pathologist will check for speech and language abilities that indicate autism in your child.

Cognitive testing: It includes a standardized intelligence test to determine cognitive abilities.

Adaptive functioning assessment: It is used to test how well your child is able to function and adapt in real-life situations.

Sensory-motor evaluation: It is used to test your child’s fine and gross motor skills and sensory skills.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Treatment Options and Social Skills Activities for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Here are some clinical treatment options and social skills training in Autistic Spectrum Disorder:

Theatre

With the help and guidance of a theatre instructor, individuals improve skills such as eye contact, gestures, voice projection. A major improvement is noticed and seen from the first-class performance to the final performance. This activity makes individuals with ASD better able to maintain eye contact. Theatre helps the child or individual understand social cues, making eye contact, and improve their vocal and movement abilities.

Neurofeedback Therapy in treatment options for Autism

Neurofeedback is a research-proven way to help improve brain functioning through brain training exercises. The philosophy of this is quite simple yet effective. In neurofeedback, you learn to improve your brain activity the same way you learn every other skill. Neurofeedback for autism spectrum disorders focuses on improving the processing of social and sensory information on reducing activation of emotional networks.

Social Stories

Social Stories are brief and personalized stories written for children or individuals with ASD. These stories help them to understand social situations. A variety of social instances help the child or individual understand a social situation both positive and stressful encounters. The aim here is to better their insight and help guide their future behavior.

Comic Strip Conversations

Comic Strip Conversations involve writing conversations to help the child learn social rules.

Social scripts

Social scripts encompass common social situations that help children or individuals with ASD to initiate social conversation and contact.

Virtual Reality Treatment

Virtual Reality Treatment entails using virtual-reality programs, software, or videos to teach and educate children or individuals with ASD complex social skills like assessing emotions in people, understanding facial expressions, and recognizing the tone in the voice.

Best Treatments and Therapies for Autism

Not all skills are inborn to us. Just like riding a bicycle takes time and so does social skills training. Being supportive and showing patience towards your child or family member is the best help you can provide. They may take their time to build on their social skills.

If you need more information about autism spectrum disorder or have any queries, do send them to us at info@cadabamshospitals.com. Or visit us at Cadabam’s Hospitals. Alternatively, you reach us on our 24/7 helpline number- +91 97414 76476.

Why Cadabam’s Hospitals?

Cadabam’s Hospitals is one of the most trusted mental health care and psycho-social rehabilitation centres. Ours is a large and committed team that strives to deliver people the best treatment and an excellent experience. For more than three decades, we have impacted countless lives, enabling them with better health and more fulfilling life. In our treatments, we take an evidence-based and personalized approach that addresses the unique needs and requirements of every individual with complete adequacy. Connect with us today, take the hands of our specialists, and get the best social skills training autism

FAQs About Autism Spectrum Disorder and Social Skills

  • How do I teach my autistic child social skills?

It can be a challenge for parents to teach social skills to their children with autism. They might not always respond properly to your advice and recommendations. And when things don’t go accordingly, it could be another challenge to encourage them and instill confidence. This is why it’s recommended to get help from specialists. 

With years of experience, experts know what works and what doesn’t. They have the right understanding of how to progressively teach autistic children the needed social skills that’s easy and comfortable for the latter. So, if you’re really looking to teach your autistic child the needed social skills, consider opting for social skills therapy autism.

  • Can you be autistic with good social skills?

Yes, it’s possible. In fact, many individuals with autism are quite good at socializing. But it’s important to note that it requires practice and the right mindset. This is especially true for children. They must be taught from the beginning how to socialize effectively so that they grow up to be more social. Parents must ensure their autistic kids are properly trained to have good social skills. 

  • What is social skills training autism?

Social skills training for autism, as the name suggests, are sessions where a specialist teaches individuals with autism how to be effective in communicating and better at socializing. ASD poses several social, communication, and behavioural challenges. Such training ensures individuals learn a way to bypass these challenges and stride towards a normal life where they can communicate and socialize better.

  • Can an autistic child be very social?

Yes, an autistic child can be very social. They are keen to make new friends and talk to different people. However, at times, the challenges they face in communicating and socializing limit their confidence, which eventually deters them from making such attempts again. This is why they need social skills training wherein they know how to communicate and socialize in an effective manner. 

  • How effective is Autism Spectrum Disorder treatment?

The effectiveness of ASD treatment depends on many factors, including the type we’re dealing with, along with its severity. Plus, a lot depends on the treatment measure that has been adopted and who is treating them. In general though, Autism Spectrum Disorder treatment can be quite positive for everyone. In the long-run, it can be a big difference-maker in enabling people with autism with a better and more fulfilling life. 

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