Many people are in search of some ways to increase and encourage social interaction with their students with autism. Some educators turn to social skills videos, social skills emotions lessons, or work to teach social skills with autism specific curriculum. Many of these strategies to teach social skills could work and here are a few more you might want to try if you are looking for social skills activities for students with autism.
Focus on self-management to help students recognize their own behaviors. Use visual supports to show them the expected behaviors and to ask them to point or check off whether or not they have lived up to the expected behaviors.
Teach students to identify emotions in themselves and in others. Pictures cards and photos of emotions as well as teaching labels to emotions can support this task.
Promote self-awareness so that students understand how they interact with the world around them. Help students to pay attention to their classmates, teachers and therapists. Teach them to use a choice board to express their wants and needs so that they can see that they have an impact on their world.
Encourage communication through pictures, gestures, writing or words. Use the student's skill set to help with this. If they can write, encourage them to write out what they are feeling. If they uses pictures to communicate, be sure to have a variety of pictures that they can choose from to express what they may like to say.
Give students multiple times to practice a new skill. Think "riding a bike"... it takes multiple times to practice with support before you are ready to try it out on your own. This is true as well for social skills, so give students many opportunities to practice by making teaching social skills in the classroom a routine part of the day. Supports like Social Skills Printables, social skills videos and role playing scripts for social skills could be helpful in adding practice on this skill.
Try these strategies to help your students be the best that they can be! See our main Social Skills page for 10+ more strategies, picture book ideas, and links to helpful sites on how to teach social skills to students with autism.