Social Skills

Social SkillsSocial skills are the personal skills needed for successful social communication and interaction. Social skill development contributes to the child’s growth in school, interpersonal skills, and communication skills. Social skills include:

  • saying hello/goodbye
  • starting/maintaining/ending conversations appropriately
  • using appropriate eye contact when being spoken to
  • demonstrating appropriate body language during communicative exchanges
  • reading nonverbal communication
  • taking turns and sharing with peers
  • making friends
  • understanding and expressing emotions
  • accepting the ideas of others
  • accepting responsibility
  • working cooperatively with others
  • using problem solving strategies to repair communication breakdowns
  • inhibiting inappropriate comments/actions


Families play an important role in helping their child develop social interaction skills. There are many fun and creative ways to facilitate social skills with your child:

  • Provide many opportunities for social interactions. Children need to PRACTICE skills in manageable settings. Start small (set up a play date with one other child) and then build up to group activities.
  • Help your child by role playing what he/she is going to do and give clear expectations of what your child should do in language that they understand.
  • Use visuals and stories (can find ones at libraries and create your own) to show your child what to DO and SAY in a new or challenging social situation. Create a story with simple straight forward language and minimal pictures to help learn and retain the information. Have your child assist in creating the pictures or help come up with the words. For more information on how to make your own Social Stories (™) visit www.thegraycenter.org
  • Use your child's strengths and build upon them, choose social interactions around his/her interests.
  • Give "specific" positive praise and reinforcement. For example, say "I like how you said 'hi' to Ms. Mary! That made Ms. Mary happy when you said 'hi' to her."
  • There are several free and inexpensive "Apps" available to download for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. There is an extensive list on http://blog.autismspectrumdirectory.com (great ready-made social stories and visuals on this site). Some favorites are: "Touch and Learn - Emotions" (free), Everyday Social Skills (and others from Functional Skills System (free - $.99), Model me Going Places (free).
  • Play board games and other turn-taking games; whether winning or losing, this is a great opportunity to work on turn-taking, negotiating, and sportsmanship
  • Encourage social outings: bowling, playing at the park, play dates, Jump Zone / Pump It Up (many have designated Jump Times for children with special needs), movies (once a month Marcus Theater in Orland Park has a special viewing for individuals with disabilities to see a movie with decreased sensory stimulation…contact Jennifer Koller at [email protected] for more information)

Have Fun!!!

185 S. Marley Rd. New Lenox, IL 60451