Children with Asperger’s and other autism spectrum disorders can get tired and discouraged during our social skills training and social skills teaching activities. Here is fun and effective way to help your students/clients on the autism spectrum to focus and work hard on their social skills concerns.
How to make a simple social skills board game for kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders:
1. Click on the blank game board found below the text of this blog. Copy it to your desktop. It works great to copy it right onto a blank powerpoint page. Enlarge it to fill the page.
2. Find images that represent the child’s particular interests. Children with autism spectrum disorders will often pay particular attention to social skills training activities that include their special interests. Copy these right onto the blank white spaces on the game board (see how I have done it in the example).
3. Alternatively, you can print out the blank social skills game board and you and the child can add visual content by hand.
4. Fill in the game spaces with “challenges” the child finds challenging. It’s easy to customize it (as I have done in the example with the hypothetical child, Frank) to zero in on the social skills challenges most relevant to the child with autism your are helping with social skills.
5. Please be aware that many children with Asperger’s and other autism spectrum disorders are so clever with computers. They might be able to help you with this quite a lot.
6. Get a dice, game pieces, and you’re ready!
To make a larger game, get foam core board and create more squares. For more elaborate games with higher production values, there are great free downloads at http://www.microsoft.com/canada/home/memories-and-crafts/articles/all-a-board-create-a-personalized-board-game.aspx Inexpensive kits for board games are available containing dice, timers, and blank game boards: http://www.barebooks.com/gameboards.htm
Good luck with this social skills training technique for kids on the autism spectrum. Kindly leave a comment and let others know what works for you.
Joel Shaul, LCSW
To go to Part I of the series on Game-Like Strategies for social skills teaching, click here.