Friendship skills involve much social interaction, which can be difficult for children with ASD. This is because they often have difficulty understanding and responding to the social cues of others. As such, many parents and professionals have found that providing early intervention and social skills training to children with ASD can be very beneficial.
One effective model of social skills instruction is the five-step model of social skills instruction. Let’s take a granular look at each step.
Five-step model of social skills instruction
The five-step model of social skills instruction is a framework that can be used to teach friendship skills to children with ASD. The five steps are:
- Assess Social Functioning
- Distinguish Between Skill Acquisition and Performance Deficits
- Select Intervention Strategies
- Implement Intervention
- Evaluate and Monitor Progress
Assess Social Functioning
The first step in the five-step model is to assess social functioning. This can be accomplished through various methods, such as interviews, observations, and standardized assessments. It is important to clearly understand the child’s social skills deficits to select the most appropriate intervention strategies. The assessment should also include a functional behavior analysis to identify the child’s strengths and weaknesses.
For example, if a child is very shy, the intervention may focus on helping the child to feel more comfortable in social situations. On the flip side, if a child is overly aggressive, the intervention may focus on teaching them how to control their emotions.
Distinguish Between Skill Acquisition and Performance Deficits
The second step in the five-step model is to distinguish between skill acquisition and performance deficits. Skill acquisition deficits refer to the child’s lack of knowledge or understanding of social skills. Performance deficits refer to the child’s reluctance or inability to use social skills in real-world situations even though they can do so. It is crucial to make this distinction because it will help to determine which intervention strategies are most appropriate.
Select Intervention Strategies
The third step in the five-step model is to select intervention strategies. This can be either accommodation or assimilation. Accommodation strategies involve changing the environment or the task to make it easier for the child to succeed. Assimilation strategies involve teaching the child new skills that will help them cope with the task’s demands. Select intervention strategies that are appropriate for the child’s level of functioning and that are likely to be successful.
The fourth step in the five-step model is to implement the intervention. This includes developing a plan for how and when the intervention will be carried out. It is essential to ensure that all of the people involved in the intervention are trained on how to carry it out correctly. The intervention should be carried out consistently and systematically.
Evaluate and Monitor Progress
The fifth & final step in the five-step model is to evaluate and monitor progress. This can be accomplished through various methods, such as interviews, observations, and standardized assessments. It is important to track the child’s progress over time to ensure that the intervention works and make any necessary adjustments.
These five steps provide a framework that can be used to instill social skills in children with ASD. However, it is paramount to remember that every child is unique and will require a personalized approach.