Autism: A Social Skills Approach for Children and by Maureen Aarons;Tessa Gittens

By Maureen Aarons;Tessa Gittens

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Extra info for Autism: A Social Skills Approach for Children and Adolescents

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While we accept that there is a real distinction between learning disabled children with autism and those without this additional impairment, the distinction is not as great as that between low- and high-functioning children with autism. It is when children have autism with good cognitive skills that the social impairments must be addressed, as they will inevitably affect educational progress. Children with autism have problems with all forms of communication. In terms of spoken language, this may range from a complete absence of or interest in communicating to subtle difficulties affecting the use of language.

Parents should be encouraged to consider these services, if not for themselves, then for siblings who need time and opportunity to engage in activities which are precluded when a brother or sister with autism is around. In some areas, activities and meetings are organized specifically for siblings, and these may be helpful in alleviating the stress and embarrassment often experienced by normal functioning children in the family. There are parents who, despite all efforts to help them, appear unable to move forward in terms of recognizing and accepting their child's difficulties.

Almost any space will work effectively, provided it can accommodate the numbers attending and has an atmosphere conducive to informal discussion. It could be a private home, a clinic, a school or even a room above a pub. Apart from facilities for making or providing basic refreshments, the only equipment needed is a flip chart, evaluation forms, information sheets, pens and any materials or books that need to be displayed or demonstrated. Many parents of children with social development problems feel very isolated and value an opportunity to meet others facing the same difficulties.

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