Social Skill Strategies for Working with Young Children (K-6) with Autism
Autism is a condition that affects children and lasts throughout their lifetime. Various characteristics can be used to recognize the broad spectrum disorder including inability to carry out social interactions successfully, poor speech coordination and slowness in comprehension and response during communication. The disorder has been associated with many other possible causes besides genetic factors. According to research, factors such as vaccine sensitivity, mercury poisoning and changes in the digestive tract have been related to the causes of autism in children (Landrigan, 2010).
Because of the diversity of potential causes, the disorder is identified as a spectrum disorder and is thus treated using a multi-dimensional approach which involves personality and behavior therapies. The condition however has no cure. There are various social skill strategies that can be used to address the problem of autism in children. However, there is need to analyze any specific autism cases since not all intervention approaches are suitable for all people. Similarly, not all interventions can be used with children.
In most cases, autism affects children below 3 years but continues through their lifetime. As a result of this the challenges faced by the autistic children and their parents are common. For instance, the parents may desire their children to have friends as other children do. On the other hand, the autistic children mainly face challenges with regards to social interactions and communications. While other children learn skills on their own during interactions with others, the autistic children have to be taught specially in order to gain the skills.
Additionally, the autistic children also appear aloof to others hence are incapable of forming functional relationships. Communication is also a problem for the children with autism. The instruction of children with autism is therefore a significant challenge. The instructors have to work together with the parents of those children to enhance their capacity to understand the needs of their children as well as to help their children in the development of social skills.
The process for assisting the autistic children recommends the use of self analysis of the children in order to determine the areas of social skill deficits and thus make efforts at improving the social skills capabilities of the children. Self assessment including monitoring and evaluation of progress is deemed important for the successful intervention of autism cases. Bellini (2009) asserts that the process of monitoring and evaluation is critical towards the achievement of improvements in areas of deficit.
Individual assessment is critical towards achieving discernment between skill deficits and behavioral deficits in the autistic children (Johnson and Myers, 2007). This is important for the direction of social interventions towards the right overall objectives. For instance, this method was proven effective in the case of Kelly, a young female student who was helped to overcome autistic challenges. Through recognition of her deficits, the young girl was helped via a controlled playgroup interaction which was initiated by the social workers.
The controlled playgroup consisted of two peer mentors. The two, who were also of her age, were encouraged to play with the affected child. The interactions involved responding to the communications prompted by Kelly. Having been taught what to do and how to help her achieve improvement n areas of deficit, the young girls were able to help Kelly to achieve greater social skills. In conclusion, dealing with autism is a significant challenge in the affected households. This is because the disorder is insidious and results in great challenges in the social contexts. Behavioral excesses are a common feature among those affected by autism.
Bellini, S. (2009). Making (and keeping) friends: A model for social skills interaction. The Reporter, 8(3), 1-10.
Johnson, C.P., & Myers, S.M. (2007). American academy of pediatrics council on children with disabilities. Identification and evaluation of children with autism spectrum disorders. Pediatrics, 120:1183-1215.
Landrigan, P.J. (2010). What causes autism? Exploring the environmental contribution. Current Opinion on Pediatrics, 22: 219-225.
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