Boys on the autism spectrum and their typical sisters
Boys with Asperger’s and other autism spectrum disorders often find the world of typical girl interests completely bewildering. In my own work with boys on the spectrum, I find that quite a few of them regard their sisters’ lives and interests with a fair amount of disdain. Since mothers and sisters are usually the first females boys with ASD learn to interact with, it is important to help these boys to reach out to the females in their family, understand them, and converse with them.
Social skills teaching and visual methods
If you are reading this now, you probably are already aware that many children with ASD learn better when there is an engaging visual component included in your methods. My own social skills products, such as The Green Zone, make very extensive use of photos.
I designed these worksheets with visual learning modalities in mind.
How to download and print out the worksheets:
Click on the image. Wait a moment for it to open in another window. Print. Color is great if you have the ink; black and white is okay if you don’t.
Ways to use the worksheets:
1. You might introduce the worksheets using words something like this:
“Other people have their own thoughts and feelings. While you are thinking about the things you like, other people are thinking all about their own favorite things. When you talk to other people, you can’t just talk about what YOU like, because that will be annoying. When you learn about what the other person likes, you must try hard to spend part of the time talking about the things that that person likes.”
“When you are a boy, talking to a girl can be hard because girls might like ’girly’ things that you don’t care about. Here is a picture worksheet to help you figure out how to talk to your sister. [substitute "cousin" or "classmate" if the boy has no sister.] Put a check mark on the pictures that you think your sister might be interested in.”
2. Explain about Compliments, Comments and Questions using the accompanying page.
3. Do conversation practice. If you are working with and individual boy or a small group of boys, you can “play the sister” while the boys take turns speaking with you. Keep the Compliments, Comments and Questions guide close by as a reference. It can really help at this point to use a score system — the boys may wish to compete with each other to get the higher score.
I have lots of other free download activities to supplement and support this activity. In particular, I suggest you have a look at:
I hope that these worksheets are interesting and helpful to the kids you are helping with social skills and conversation.