Tuesday, May 29, 2012

ASDs and Social Skills Groups

One of the defining characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorders is difficulty with social interactions.  This difficulty with social interactions can become even more challenging when speech and language disorders are also present.

Social interaction challenges associated with autism:
  • Fleeting/lack of eye contact
  • Lack of Theory of Mind, or the ability to attribute mental states (beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.) to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from one's own.  In other words, the ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes.
  •  Literal interpretation (does not understand sarcasm, humor, figurative language, etc.).  For example, the figurative language used in the previous bullet: "to put yourself in someone else's shoes" would be interpreted as literally wearing someone else's shoes.
  • Reading nonverbal cues of communication partners (e.g., interpreting facial expressions, body language, tone of voice)
  • Staying on topic when the topic is uninteresting to them

These social interaction difficulties associated with autism can lead to hurting other's feelings, isolating themselves from peers even more, an inability to appropriately manage conflicts, and even increased difficulty with obtaining and holding down a job.  Without specific training in appropriate social skills, the social challenges of individuals with autism can negatively impact their lives and may lead to hostility, teasing, bullying and social isolation.

Social Skills Groups
Social skills therapy provides people on the autism spectrum with the ability to converse, share, play and work with typical peers.  Social skills groups are designed to teach subtle social skills very specifically and directly with many opportunities for practice.

Bright Beginnings will be starting a new social group for school-aged children starting the week of June 4th.  If you are interesting in finding out more information about our groups, please contact us at 615-898-7461 or info@brightbeginningsptc.com.


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