Are you raising an autistic child? If so, life will be a lot easier if your child has buddies to hang out with. And it can be a challenge to help them make friends once they hit middle school and higher.
There is a long list of reasons children with autism struggle to develop positive friendships throughout their lives. But this doesn't mean that their social skills can't improve.
We have shared five working ways to help your child with autism make friends.
Have a look.
Explain The Real Meaning of Friendship To Them
Making friends can be hard for anyone. It's easy to feel like you don't fit in, and it gets harder the older you get.
For autistic kids, this concept can be confusing or overwhelming. Defining friendships with them and helping them understand how they can establish friendships will help guide your child through potential social experiences with peers.
Moreover, there is no specific set of rules or exact way to get your child to make friends. The majority of these children have communication difficulties and can be introverts.
So this might take a while to master. So you have to be patient with them in this regard.
Figure Out The Activities Your Kid Loves Doing
Developing your child's social skills can be a challenge. One of the most important things you need to do is determine what activities they like doing. It is easier to make friends when they enjoy a particular thing to do.
So, begin by asking – “What are my child's interests?”.
These could be anything and certainly don't have to be all the same activities. For example, are they interested in numbers? Maybe they like puzzles. Do they like to watch movies or TV shows or read books? Maybe they enjoy art or music.
When you determine the activities, you can make them join clubs where they will meet like-minded peers, increasing the chances of making friends.
Engage With Your Children in Their Playdates
Whether held at your home or a park, or a friend's house, playdates are an excellent opportunity to get other kids involved with your autistic child. This involvement helps build social skills and teach important life lessons which can translate into everyday life.
Ensuring that your autistic child is in charge of these types of playdates is important because it helps your child learn how to interact with others, rather than simply being a puppet master behind their friend's action.
You can also consider joining a local autism playgroup sponsored by a variety of organizations. When adults are involved, they can make appropriate matches and help you and your child socialize in a meaningful way.
Talking of groups, this brings us to the final tip – community groups.
Community Groups Can Help!
Making new friends is not quite as easy a task for most children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as it is for others.
Fortunately, there are many community groups for kids that will help your child practice social skills and give them a chance to make some friends. So if your child has autism, consider connecting with other parents and help your child find a social group where they can be included!
Also, when you find the group your child can join, ask the people running the group for some tips on making friends. They should be used to helping children with ASD develop their social skills and make friends.
Their help will be invaluable in getting your child to build more friendships instead of only having one or two.
The hardest challenge with children and adolescents with autism is to help them fit in with their peers. Autistic kids are often teased and ostracized by their peers because they have difficulty understanding other children or recognizing social cues.
While kids with high functioning autism can easily make friends, other autistic kids aren't this lucky. So, if your kid isn't diagnosed with Level 1 ASD, take cues from the above tips to help your little champ make more friends!