How autism affects a child’s social skills

How autism affects a child’s social skills
A child that appears to be ‘in their own world’ is a child that may be struggling to maintain conversations, not answering question posed to them and they might also be talking to themselves. This is one of the common signs that the child has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

“One in 160 children in Singapore is diagnosed with Autism.”
Many children and adults with autism have difficulties in learning how to act in different types of social situation. Autism has a wide spectrum of impairments in communication, social interactions and behaviours. Disorder may range from mild to severe, whereby the support needed for the child differs depending on the severity. The first step in identifying the appropriate support needed is to understand how autism affects them and the people around them.
Children with autism develop at a different rate and they do not necessarily show the same language development as others. They may display an intense focus on limited areas of interest. For example, a three-month old baby who is distracted by a trail of ants is less likely to tune into a peek-a-boo game with her parents. As this continues, the child may have trouble picking up words or language that are being taught by the parents. This will have an impact on the child’s vocabulary.
Social behaviours
Social participation can pose a big challenge for any developing children. They may not necessarily make friends at a young age but will have one over time. However, children with autism will struggle socially even as they get older. Their classmates and peers will tend to avoid befriending them, as the child may lack social etiquette and often take little interests in others around them. This may cause them to appear unfriendly and may offend others due to their behaviours.
Contrary to popular belief, children with autism are fast learner when it comes to imitating our actions. As they struggle with language, they often communicate with actions from their observation through visuals. Although positive, they might not understand the meaning behind the actions. For example, an autistic child observed others slotting in coins to a vending machine because he/she is thirsty for a drink. An autistic child mimics the action but does not know what to do with the can of drink. They excel at recording visual details, but struggle to conceptualize the idea behind their actions.
Learning and observing the early warning signs of the child’s social interactions may enable us to get the proper treatment for them. With early diagnosis, it can help us to identify the help they need in order to enhance their social participation and lead a meaningful life with friendships and happiness.

Join us at College of Allied Educators to see how you can develop an understanding of the different types of exceptional children, their needs, and the different special needs programmes and specialties that are available to you, for them.


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