How To: Understanding Loneliness in Children with Asperger’s
Children with Asperger’s syndrome often struggle with making and maintaining friendships. As a result, they can experience loneliness or develop depression. Autism symptoms such as unusual body language, verbal communication challenges and sensory processing problems can cause children on the spectrum to feel isolated from peers. As a parent, you can take action to help your child overcome these barriers and work towards healthy social interaction.
Practice Body Language
Body language is a natural way to communicate for most of us, but children with an autism spectrum disorder find it difficult to decode. As a result, many kids misinterpret gestures and facial expressions. You can help your child by practicing and explaining common expressions and other forms of nonverbal communication together.
Make Social Interaction a Regular Activity
Children with Asperger’s syndrome often choose to isolate themselves from peers and may make excuses as to why they don’t want to participate in social settings. However, regular social interaction has been proven to play a key role in the development of healthy communication capabilities which lead to long-lasting friendships. If daily playtime with a peer isn’t possible for your child, try to expose him or her to social situations such as a local park or art class as frequently as possible.
Work on Collaborative Conversations
Children on the spectrum often find it difficult to start and maintain conversations. They may be rigid in their topics of interest, ignore nonverbal cues and forget to let the other person respond. With daily practice, you can teach your child how to have an enjoyable conversation with peers that they can use to make new friends.
A positive mindset can lead to higher self-esteem in children. Help your child maintain a good outlook by modeling it yourself. Provide plenty of praise for all of his or her accomplishments to encourage further progress.
If you notice any of the signs of Asperger’s syndrome in your child or are interested in learning more about autism treatment, our specialists are ready to help. Contact us today to schedule your appointment or to get more information on autism spectrum disorders.