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Reply To: Social skills for teenage ASD

Rachel Barton

Hi Susan,
I can’t help you in terms of knowing whether any groups are running in your area but just wanted to wave the flag for Social groups / Social Advocacy Groups as opposed to social skills training. I do know colleagues who are starting to put this into practice and seeing great results in young peoples confidence, friendships and self-acceptance. This article is written by an autistic psychologist who explains the approach with much more clarity than I could:

Why Social Skills Training has to go!

My personal experience as the Mum of an autistic teenager is that trying to teach social skills leads to confusion and self doubt for the young person and feels like a totally overwhelming task as a parent. I’m not suggesting that I don’t pick my son up on his communication if he has been rude or upset someone, but we focus as much as we can on validating his autistic communication style. I really wish that the kind of groups Raelene Dundon describes had been available for my son during secondary school as I think he would have reached a point of self acceptance sooner.

So fingers crossed someone is running this kind of group that you will be able to signpost these lads to. It would be great to hear from others around the country who are making these changes in practice as I think as a profession we are in a position to really positively impact the mental well being of autistic young people.

I hope this helpful, I realise that there are different views around this and mine is just one perspective.

Best wishes,