A lot of children and adults on the autism spectrum find social skills challenging. Most share the natural human desire to interact with others and build strong relationships. Though they often don’t have the social skills to engage with others and build healthy friendships. Thankfully ABA therapy has proven to be one of the most effective methodologies for helping people with Autism Spectrum Disorder to develop the social skills they need to develop long-lasting healthy friendships.

When you partner with the ABA specialists at Magnolia Behavior Therapy we bring our considerable experience to help children and adults of all ages to improve their social skills. This often includes enhanced and guided participation in the community activities that support progressively improving outcomes. The end goal being a greater sense of personal happiness as well as the ability to make and retain healthy friendships.

Defining Social Skills & How To Improve Them

Social skills are often thought of as rules, morays, customs, and abilities that help guide a person’s interactions with others in a positive manner that deepens interpersonal connection. As members of a truly social species all human beings enjoy a greater sense of well-being when they are supported by strong social connections. This includes a variety of skills and processes that we pick up as we grow and interact with others.

Though for children and adults on the autism spectrum learning, acquiring, and reinforcing these critical social skills, can be challenging.

ABA therapy techniques, like those used by the specialists at Magnolia Behavior Therapy use many of the following techniques to help individuals on the autism spectrum to develop positive social skills toward building and maintaining strong, healthy friendships.

Teachable moments with direct instruction to help “Practice” social skills in realistic settings

Practice Makes Perfect !

  • Focusing on timing and attention
  • Supporting enhancing communication techniques
  • Supporting sensory integration
  • Learning new behaviors that help predict important social outcomes
  • Building up cognitive and language skills

ABA Strategies Employed In Social Skills Training

Magnolia Behavior Therapy’s ABA specialists employ a variety of positive behavior support strategies as part of our proactive social skills training strategies. Our therapists work closely with patients to reduce and ultimately prevent problematic social behaviors. At the same time, we strive to reinforce and increase appropriate social behaviors. This involves setting up many opportunities for appropriate social engagement so the learner can practice newly learned social skills.

  • Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT)
  • Natural Environment Teaching (NET)
  • Social Scaffolding
  • Proactive strategies
  • Using social stories
  • Roleplay
  • Priming
  • Verbal Behavior Training (VBT)
  • Planned ignoring
  • Verbal redirection
  • Behavior contracts
  • Reward systems
  • Positive behavior support strategies

Reinforcing Social Skills Development

While social skills and coping mechanisms are introduced in the therapeutic process, reinforcing them and developing friendships with long-term social investment are also aided by other professionals and the family. This means things like practicing with the family support group, as well as interacting with peers.

Magnolia Behavior Therapy provides parents, families, and caregivers with training and resources to help support social skill development. This is often a critical first step toward engaging in larger-scale peer-to-peer interaction.

Using Groups To Bolster Social Skills

When the child or adult is ready to engage in larger-scale peer-to-peer interactions, social skills groups tend to offer opportunities for people on the autism spectrum to practice their social skills. A lot of these social groups follow commercially available social skills guidelines and are often facilitated or overseen by ABA specialists.

Benefits Of Social Skill Groups

There are several benefits to guided social skill group exercises for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. This includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Providing a predictable structure and predictability
  • Helping to breakdown abstract social concepts into concrete actions that can be easily understood
  • Simplifying the language based on age and engagement level
  • The ability to work in pairs, teams larger groups
  • Fostering a sense of cooperation and partnership
  • Integration with varied learning opportunities
  • Fostering a great sense of self-awareness
  • Improving self-esteem
  • Opportunities to practice social skills in real-life settings