Support Your Child With Autism Make New Friends
No matter what age you are, making friends can be difficult. This is due to the fact that it is difficult to determine exactly what other people think about you. However, for children with autism and related disorders, making friends is even more difficult. This is for a number of reasons:
- Children with autism sometimes struggle to understand social cues. As a result, they may find it hard to start or continue conversations.
- Children with autism also find it hard to understand how others may be feeling.
- Your child may be shy or suffer from social anxiety.
- Your child may prefer to spend time alone, and as a result, they are unsure of how to make new friends.
Nevertheless, there are several things you can do to help your child with autism make friends!
1: Encourage them to take part in group activities
A great way to help your child grow in confidence is by encouraging them to find a hobby that they enjoy. However, by steering them towards group activities – such as team sports – you are also encouraging them to step outside of their comfort zone and make new friends in the process. Although it may take you a while to find a sport they enjoy, it is definitely worth it in the long run and helps them follow a healthy lifestyle.
Here are some ideas of activities your child may enjoy:
- Martial Arts
2: Use Social Stories
Social stories are a great way to help your child understand the world around them. They are designed to make complicated situations – such as making friends – easier to understand. As a result, a child with autism can enter a new situation with confidence and ease, as they understand how people are going to react in this situation.
There are plenty of social stories about making friends online, however, you can also make your own!
3: Consider Therapy
Therapy, online or in person, is a great way to help your child thrive. At Alee behavioral, we offer a range of services – from speech therapy to applied behavior analysis, and each session is designed to support your child through any problems they may be facing – this can include providing suggestions on how to make friends and feel more comfortable in school. Furthermore, therapy is sure to help your child grow in confidence – which is another key factor in building strong relationships with others.
4: Talk to their school friends
Children are more perceptive than we give them credit for – and so they may have noticed that your child thinks or acts a little differently to the rest of the people in the class. Therefore, you may wish to have their teacher talk about autism and related disorders during a lesson. They do not have to name your child, but they can use this as an opportunity to encourage people to be kind to each other and look out for those around them. Each and every person is different – and we can learn a lot from each other. Teaching children to acknowledge and accept differences is a great step forward, and may make it easier for your child to make friends.