Teaching your kids cooperation skills

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Fall is filled with exciting activities and social situations. Help prepare child on the spectrum for working with others, problem solving, and other important social skills in a fun and stress-free way.
When your child, who has been diagnosed with autism, struggles to play with peers or communicate properly with adults, they have a hard time, working with others and making friends. Learning to play and work with others is a critical skill for developing friendships, completing group projects, and participating in extra-curricular activities. Cooperation skills also build the foundation for more complex social skills.
Here are some fun ways to teach your child on the spectrum the social skills and cooperation skills needed to make friends and work well with others.
Here are some fun activities you can do with our child, who has been diagnosed with autism, that will teach them skills such as waiting, turn taking, and following directions.
Cooking – Family cooking activities are a fun way to divide work and practice skills. Start by making a written or pictorial recipe with ingredients and steps presented in order. Assign roles to each family member and practice turn taking, following directions, and sharing responsibility for creating something you can all enjoy later.
Gardening – A great way to do a group activity with your child, who has been diagnosed with autism, is to spend the afternoon gardening with them. Whether potting seeds or planting flowers, it is best to assign your child with a specific task that they are responsibly for. Gardening provides the opportunity for continued cooperation and responsibility; and many kids enjoy it.
Art – Group art projects such as murals and collages provide the perfect opportunity for dividing work and creating a lasting reminder of cooperation. Select a theme and have your child on the spectrum look for specific pictures in magazines, books, on-line, or whatever resources you have at home. Then give them the responsibility of creating the design for the collage by placing the pictures together in the order they like best, while someone else glues the pictures down. This is a perfect way to practice teamwork.
After your child has developed basic cooperation skills, give them opportunities to use these skills at home, at school and in the community. Encourage your child on the spectrum to use the social skills they have learned to master tasks on their own.