Social Skills Education – how about an inclusive version?

This post was written as a response to a post on LinkedIn titled:

How do you make social skills exciting, fun, and instructional at the same time?

[ Totally behind wanting the joy of “shared play” to happen. But after reading the thoughts of autistic adults on the subject of “social skills groups”, I felt it needed to be said. ]

What I think would be great is if we taught ALL children how to socialize. “typical” children seem to learn through “osmosis” – but the issue here is WHAT and WHERE they are learning. Bullying, for instance, is a GENERATIONAL issue. Adults bully, each other, and their children. So typical kids learn this.

How can we make this happen? How do we get away from the “let them work it out” attitude – that basically isn’t helpful with little kids because they don’t have any EXPERIENCE to work it out from.

How do we teach non-autistic kids to not be jerks to other kids who are different from them? We spend so much time trying to make autistic children seem “less autistic”, when adult autistic people are telling us how not-helpful this is.

Knowing the “rules” of “typical social interaction” is good and definitely helpful and useful – because the greater population operates by them. But it takes a TON of energy to “act typical” – energy that would be better used by the autistic person for other things.

How do we update our “social skills training” to be useful in a way that allows people to accept and understand others, period?

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