Monthly Archives: April 2019

Teach Your Child Proper Greetings and Goodbyes

Conversational skills are the foundation for making friends and interacting with adults.  Greetings and good-byes are very important aspects of a conversation since greetings set the tone for the conversation and good-byes leave a final impression.

Here are some tricks to understanding the components of greetings and good-byes:

  1. Many different words and phrases are used in introductions and greetings.  The variations can be confusing for children on the spectrum, who have a hard time generalizing skills.  Teach your child with autism the many forms of the word “Hello” and the meaning behind phrases like “How are you?”
  2. Children who have been diagnosed with autism may need to have their parents explain to them the context behind greetings and good-byes   Good morning.” and “Hey there!” are both greetings, but they are appropriate for different people.  The same can be said for “Have a nice day.” and “See you later!”  Children on the spectrum should also understand context with regards to settings. When your child speaks to a teacher or an order person it is proper to be more formal than when they talk to a peer.
  3. Body language plays an important part in teaching your child the proper ways to greet someone. When they say “hello” or “good-bye” to a familiar person, it is more customary to hug, high-five etc. When they are meeting with an adult, someone with authority, or an important member of society, it is more proper to shake their hand.

It is important to prepare your child with autism for an upcoming greeting by telling them or preparing them for what will occur and reminding them how to respond.  Role Play new situations when you know they will be coming up and teach your child new phrases, body language cues, and appropriate responses in a comfortable environment.

We may take it for granted but greetings and good-byes can be complex interactions for children who have been diagnosed with autism. Help your child understand a variety of phrases, and recognizing body language so that are able to comprehend the importance of building social and communication skills.

How To Build Long Lasting Friendships

We all want the best for our children. We want them to grow up surrounded by friends, always happy and having a good time. For some, building friendships is easy, but for many children who have been diagnosed with autism making friends can be difficult. Children who have been diagnosed with autism may struggle with making friends and maintaining relationships. Here are some helpful ways for them to build friendships and improving social skills.

Remember that friendships are built from shared interests, so help your child get involved in community sports, art programs, and special events. These activities are wonderful ways to meet new people and engage in structured events with peers. Also it would be a good idea to look into specialty camps and classes geared towards your child’s special needs. Reach out to professionals and support groups for information and recommendations.

Role playing different skills with your child will also help them get used to socializing. Work on specific aspects of social interactions. For example, if you see that your child is standing to close to peers when speaking to them, teach them about personal space. If you notice your child asking the same questions over and over, practice communication skills. By working with your child on these skills at home, he/she will learn to improve on social skills and apply these skills when interacting with others.

It is also a good idea to provide examples of both good and bad social interactions while reading a book or watching TV/movies. It helps to point out how someone is helping others or using kind words when friends are talking to them. It’s also important to point out when a character is being harmful or hurtful to someone. One way to point out examples of unfriendly behavior is to focus your child’s attention on situations where a character is doing something unkind to another person and explain to them why that particular behavior is considered unfriendly. Then teach them the correct way to act in order to be a better friend.

Modeling good behavior and demonstrating kindness is also very important. Your children follows your example, so whether you are at the store, talking to a neighbor or interacting with a stranger, point out when they do something thoughtful and let your child know how it makes you feel. Also, if your child does something complimentary, let them know how happy their actions have made you.

Lastly, teach your child not to force friendships. Friendships happen naturally. They are relationships that grow from common interests and understandings. It’s important to teach your children to be kind to others and to involve them in activities, but it’s also important that your child knows that although it is good to be friendly to everyone, they don’t have to be friends with everyone, just those they want to build relationships with.