Children with Asperger’s and other autism spectrum disorders can find it quite hard to have balanced conversations with family members. I have created two simple, illustrated worksheets to help.
(To see a worksheet on starting conversations with mothers, click here.)
How to use the worksheets:
Introduce the activity using words something like this: “Everybody has their own separate thoughts and feelings. While you are thinking something, someone else is probably thinking of something else. While you like to talk about certain things, other people probably like to talk about things that are completely different. It is important to talk with your father about things that HE likes, not just what YOU like.”
For the picture worksheet, have the children put check marks in the boxes corresponding to their understanding of what their father likes and what he likes to talk about. Many children on the autism spectrum will find this difficult. Others will find it relatively easy to complete accurately – but they will almost certainly find the role play conversation practice later very challenging nevertheless.
How to use the picture worksheet and the phrase sheet together for conversation practice:
In role play practice with your students on the autism spectrum, you, the adult, can play the role of the father. Don’t worry if you are female– tell the kids it’s “all pretend.” Show the children how to use the compliment, comment and question words, in combination with the pictures they checked off, to make conversation relevant to their father’s interests. This may be hard work. Check my other posts on Compliments, the Green Zone and Game-like Elements to support your social skills teaching.
Note: If any of the kids you are working with do not currently have frequent contact with their fathers, then cross out “father” on the worksheet and add the name of grandfather, step-father, etc.
How to download and print the worksheets:
Click on the image. Allow a moment for it to open in another window. Print. Color is preferable if you can manage this.
I wish you the best with this social skills / conversation practice activity for kids with ASD.