Autism is a developmental disorder that affects one in 69 children.
People with autism find it difficult to socialize, interact and communicate
with others due to the nature of their condition. For us humans, socializing
is a vital part of life that helps us to form bonds, friendships and makes
life better. Children with autism can also benefit by being in company of
others and learning to cope with their limitations to socialize.

Autism spectrum disorder affects the nervous system and has impact on the
cognitive, emotional, social and physical health of a person. People and
children with ASD find it challenging to respond to social cues, emotions,
social setups etc.

M Kriti is a parent and feels that socializing can make a
lot of positive difference in life of children.

Socializing is an area where kids have difficulty. They tend to learn more
from what they see than what they hear. Even though they want to socialize,
they might not know how to handle. With a help of some leads they slowly
learn to expand their circle. Inclusive school is a playing a vital role,
as kids with special needs and the rest of kids are allowed to blend and
that little support is making a big difference…. If a kid with special
needs is able to socialize well, I might consider them closer to near
normal people, and me as a parent is hoping for one of such a day with
hope. –M Kriti, parent

Although they may like being around other children, kids with autism may not
be able to share the feelings. It is therefore hard for them to make friends
as they may seem aloof, shy or not interested.

Here are a few things to consider.

  1. Due to their communication related limitations, kids with autism are very
    often misunderstood. However, parents, teachers, special educators should
    make efforts to help children learn about interactions with others.

  2. Not being with friends may have an adverse effect on the mental health of
    children and also impact their academic and social life.

  3. Being with friends and peers has a positive effect on the health of
    children as they are happier and less stressed.

A parent from Ernakulum, Deepthi Mathews says, “Children
learn faster when they find the lesson interesting. Parents, educators can
use a variety of creative and fun ideas for children. What the children learn
depends on their abilities and this varies from child to child.”

  1. The learning process is also improved when they learn in a group instead
    of alone.

  2. Children feel confident and accepted when they have friends or are a part
    of a social set up.

  3. Therapy can help a child with autism feel less anxious around people.

  4. It is vital to remember that every child is unique and reacts differently
    and so it is crucial to understand the needs and limitations of the
    child.

  5. Parents, teachers can slowly introduce children to other kids and not
    rush things.

  6. Children with autism should be allowed to socialize at their own pace and
    not be pushed into doing things they hate.

  7. It is important to understand that behaviors or social cues that may seem
    simple to others, may be very confusing for children with autism.

  8. Joining a play group, activity group such as drama, dance can help the
    child learn to work with others.

  9. Setting examples, telling stories, role plays, videos etc. can be used to
    teach children about social behaviors.

  10. Timely praise and appreciation can keep the children motivated to learn.

  11. A child with autism deserves love, affection and care even if he or she
    refuses to socialize and prefers to stay away from others. They have the
    right to live the way they feel most comfortable in.

Children with autism can be encouraged and guided to be a part of the
mainstream world but they should not be forced to be like others just for the
sake of social acceptance. What matters the most is their mental and physical
wellbeing.

ALSO READ: Understanding Teaching Nonverbal
Children







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