Social Interaction Skills in Children With Autism

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Children with autism have multiple characteristic impairments in their social interaction skills. This results from the lack of “Theory of Mind” in autistic individuals. Autistic children have difficulty interpreting what another person may be thinking or feeling. Social impairments may cause the child to act inappropriately in social interactions and prevent the children from truly taking part in interactions. The children have difficulty recognizing social cues and responding to cues. Autistic children have a hard time forming relationships as a result of these impairments. Social stories, Applied Behavior Analysis, and Pivotal Response Training are three therapy techniques that help children with autism learn appropriate social behavior. Social stories allow the children to practice the situation in a lower stress environment. Applied Behavior Analysis utilizes positive reinforce to teach desired skills. Pivotal Response Training allows the child to learn social skills while in a natural play environment. Learning social skills through these techniques enable the children to have more meaningful relationships and engage more in their community.

The impairments of social interaction present in children with Autism lead to misunderstanding by and isolation from much of the community. In order for these children to become as high functioning as possible and to live a successful life as a member of society, the children need to be taught appropriate social interaction behavior. The use of social stories, Applied Behavior Analysis, and Pivotal Response Training can be used to shape these behaviors while allowing the children to experience interaction with their peers. Active peer involvement greatly incr...

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