Teaching "social skills" at home

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Cuppacoffee
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16 Jul 2021, 9:13 am

I am thinking I might have to try and do this, but it ​will be hard work as I will have to look up material / print / plan / do.

My son has told me I'm a "rubbish teacher" and "I prefer to do learning at school and just want you to be my Mum", in regards to academic stuff. But he might be willing to work together on skills that aren't academic.

He has weekly sessions in school, however:
(a) It's not frequent enough to have any real impact
(b) Whatever they cover / discuss in that time (which he does enjoy) is not what he considers to be social skills / friendship lessons. I think it's more emotional literacy, which although linked, is not exactly what he had hoped for.

Anybody got any experience or tips with teaching social skills to a 13 y/o extrovert who it has been suggested has ASD?

The gap between him and others is not getting any smaller, and I don't expect he will get any additional extra support even if he is deemed to be on the spectrum.

Additionally, part of his issues are to do with getting a bit hyper around people. So even if we go through stuff, in the heat of the moment it won't be at the front of his mind. Unless we figure out a way for him to be more calm in social situations. I suppose that's the emotional literacy side of it?

Thanks in advance for any input. :wink:



timf
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16 Jul 2021, 9:42 am

"Social skills" at school are often a type of peer social dependency. Home schooled kids are often much better at social skills across various age groups.

You might consider if he would be interested in;

Civil Air Patrol
Ham radio
4H/FFA
Rodeo
Any of numerous volunteer work
League bowling
Book club

You can even take an independent approach like calling a retirement home and asking if there are any residents that would like to be interviewed.



Cuppacoffee
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16 Jul 2021, 6:37 pm

Thanks Timf.
Unfortunately most of your suggestions aren't available where we are (UK). And as our house is in a ditch, as such, radio signal is [email protected]
However, your suggestion of radio type stuff did inspire me to contact the local radio broadcaster to ask if they need any help, so we'll see what transpires... Unfortunately I might have been a little too honest in my message to them (good and bad), but the ball is in their court now. Thanks for the suggestions 8)



Cuppacoffee
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16 Jul 2021, 6:40 pm

We did contact the local Old People's charity a few years back, as my son saw a poster a d wanted to help, but they didn't get back to us. Then covid19 came along. I guess we could chase them up also.



DW_a_mom
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16 Jul 2021, 6:57 pm

We were continually working on social skills at home. It doesn't have to be a formal lesson; every interaction is a chance to discuss what the normal expected responses are and/or which natural responses of his are worth trying to modify. For many areas of concern we had hand signals to gently let our son know he was doing "it" again (usually rambling off long past the audience's ability to listen). At play dates (which your son is a little old for now, I guess) I could hover nearby and say things like "don't forget to reciprocate" or offer a hand signal, or literally run interference if he was spinning out out in a way that was worrying the other child.


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Cuppacoffee
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16 Jul 2021, 7:28 pm

Thanks DW. We never really had the opportunity at play dates, as he only ever had a handful in his life - although he is lucky enough to have a brother with friends who occasionally babysit him (when he's not too annoying).
I wouldnt mind if he rambled, talked too loud, too much etc (his bro does that). But he is insensitive to other's point of views, yet hypersensitive to what they say to him.
And it went wrong tonight without any visitors.
He would not give me or his baby sis any personal space, to the point I took her walkies.
I tried "collaborative problem solving" on our return, but he took that to mean I was calling him a snowflake :evil:
I don't know how to get through to him sometimes.



Cuppacoffee
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16 Jul 2021, 7:33 pm

And been chatting things over for years - retrospectively - but it doesn't seem to make things any easier when they occur :?



DW_a_mom
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17 Jul 2021, 9:28 pm

It generally took a LOT of persistence, repetition, and rephrasing before concepts got through to my son. Suddenly it would be like a light bulb had gone off and he got the concept. They won't absorb the concepts until their brains are ready for it, but since there is no way to know when that will be, you just have to gently keep it up. It is frustrating, I know.

My son has been unusually lucky when it comes to friends. He is very creative and outgoing, so a fraction of people have always been drawn to him. The key for us, when he was a child, was to keep them from turning away as they got to know him and see more of his frustrating behaviors.


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SocOfAutism
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01 Sep 2021, 3:24 pm

It's important to put in your two cents, but you really will need to get someone outside of the home to back you up. Preferably a male, closer to his age, but an older male will do as well.

My son is 7 with what seems to be rather severe ADHD. My husband is autistic and I am NT. Our son does not listen to anything we say in regards to social skills. We are blubbering idiots, apparently. But if he hears the exact same thing from someone "cool", it gels in with him.

We had to try what seems like a million interests with him until we found something that worked. Now we take him to this kids self defense class three times a week and he is doing great. The other kids are different sizes and ages, many of them on the autism spectrum. The kids essentially coach each other, with just minimal direction from the teacher, who is kind and encouraging.

Look around and try some things out.