What is Social and Life Skills Therapy?

[Updated: 17-Oct-08]

Social and Life Skills for Autistic Children

For autistic person, one of the most significant problems is difficulty in social interaction. It is not a problem existing by itself by it commonly linked to challenges of speech, language and motor skills. This difficulty is, of course, to tackle the challenge from many angles.  Most of us can observe others and guess what others are thinking or doing.    It is usually achieved through a combination of tone, body language and other visual aids.  In general,  autistic people can’t.  Therefore many will need help and training to understand what is really going on around them and to guess what others’ feelings are.

Why Help is Needed?


You may observed autistic person may be blunt, shunt from friends and lack of many of the social interactions and awareness around them.  Without knowing why, a person on the autism spectrum can hurt feelings, ask inappropriate questions, act oddly.  This could cause undesirable consequences such as generally open themselves up to hostility, teasing, bullying and isolation.  This could also cause lower self-esteem and also embarassment at times for the family and friends around them.

What are Social and Life Skills Therapy?

Social skills therapy aims to develop social interactive skills, training them to be independent with their activities of daily living and guiding them in their creative play and art work in order to encourage social development.  It helps to build their self esteem and their sense of purpose.
Social competence is build up towards peer acceptance, teacher acceptance and inclusion to the society.  The training builds the abilities that allow one to initiate and maintain positive social relationships with others.

The ultimate aim of such therapy will allow people on the autism spectrum to become almost indistinguishable from their typical peers.

How is it Conducted?

The social skills training is usually provided via one-on-one sessions and group sessions.  It is usually one-on-one at the first few sessions and for those who need more attention.  The groups are conducted by psychologists, counsellors or/and teachers.  The group will usually consists of children of similar age groups and skills and ability.

During the session, trainings are focus on how to improve social skills through various activities such as story telling, conversations and plays.  They will learn techniques to build social interaction skills ranging from basic skills such as making eye contact and sharing to complex and subtle skills such as asking for permission to join in a game or compliment others and convey of feelings.

At higher levels, there could  include story writing, modelling and comprehension. Social skills are also imparted through Drama role-playing which literally scripting life social scenarios trying to improve and practice interactions.   Social skills are taught relating to communication, problem-solving, decision making, self-management, and manage peer relations. 

See the video to gain idea of how a training could be conducted to improve eyes contacts. 

Where to get help for Social and Life Skills in Singapore?

I will include them shortly. Please come back for more….

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1 Comment

  1. Steve

    As a therapist, and as a parent of a child who was diagnosed on the spectrum, I really appreciate your blog.  Training kids in social skills is a challenge.  I have found that the Relationship Development Training by Dr. Gutstein is a very interesting intervention, but also very intensive and somewhat expensive.  The challenge is to find resources that are cost effective, but also real life, real time effective.  Hopefully we can all be part of identifying and creating those resources.

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