18 Tips about Friendship for Teens with Autism

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Making Friends

Friendships and social interactions can be a challenge for some teen and can be a challenging skill to figure out how to teach. They may have difficulty understanding the numerous social interactions and how to respond or understanding non-verbal behaviors. Making friends is a skill that can take time and practice. You can help your teen by talking through different social situations, role playing, getting involved in social groups, practicing out in the community, observing others, watching videos, using picture cards, or involving family members to do activities with.

Our family understands that making friends can be hard and not easy. Especially living a more rural community where my brother is homeschooled, it can be a challenge to find community events or groups to be apart of. We always want to be there to support my brother in what he wants and what he wants to work on. He loves video games and one way he has been able to socialize with others is through playing video games with family members and online with other kids. Always think about your teens situation and what they want out of friendships. Help guide them for what will help them the most.

We created a list of ideas that we felt may be helpful for you to think about when helping to teach your teen about friendships and how to make friends.

Follow their Interests

Always think about activities your teen enjoys and this will better allow for a more natural way for your child to make friends with common interests. Do not force relationships if they are not there. Think about activities your teen enjoys to participate in and are there group activities that they could get involved into meet more people with common interests? Try researching your community and find groups such as a video game group, cooking, sports, museums, church, boy-scouts/girl-scouts, or even Lego Club.

Finding the Right Group of Friends

Help your child find the right group of friends who will consider them an equal, share some of the same interests, and accept them for who they are. You could help them find a “tribe” of close friends, which may be just one or two other kids.

Reading Non-Verbal Behaviors

Non-verbal behaviors are a huge part of communicating with others. Take the time to talk about different non-verbal situations and behaviors to help your teen become more aware of them when talking with others. Ways you can practice these skills are through visuals with either picture cards or through videos. You can also go out into the community and talk through different situations and watch and observe others. Using social scripts is a great way to help your teen understand new situations and be able to talk through the situations beforehand.  Check out the Social Scripts Mini Flip Books Bundle Pack 

Picture Cards

Picture Cards can be helpful to show a variety of emotions on faces as well as body language. These strategies can help someone learn the visual cues for understanding different emotions when interacting with someone. This can help them identify anger, sadness, frustration, or if they are annoyed. Try finding video clips online to show the different emotions as well to help them better understand visual cues for emotions. You could try out these Stages Learning Emotion Picture Cards .

Learn How to Ask Questions

Learning how to ask questions are important skills when talking with friends. Friends would not want to only hear us talk about ourselves. Ways to practice this skill could be through role playing. You could play a game show or pretend to be a reporter on the news and you need to ask appropriate questions. We have created a freebie just for you as possible small talk questions you could go over with your teen to help them feel more confident about asking questions to their peers. Download the freebie below!

Social Situations for Making Friends

Find a Common Activity

When making friends it is helpful for them to find activities they can enjoy together. You could try finding  activities of common interest through having friends over to your house and creating fun activities they will both enjoy. You could make lunch together, play video games together meet up at the local park, go rock climbing, go to a movie, or go to the mall.

How to Invite Friends Over

Learning how to invite friends to over to your house or to go someone is a good skill to understand, especially to keep our teen safe. We want to make sure they understand that they need to know the person before inviting them to their house or to go some were in public. Talk to your teen about stranger safety and how to know if you can trust someone or not. This can help keep them safe!

How to Share with Others

Sharing is typically a part of friendship. Help your teen understand that it is okay to be able to share things with our friends.  When they come over to play games, it is okay to share our video games with them so we can enjoy something together. Talk about how to share and what are appropriate things to share with our friends. Learn how to take turns through talking situations. Practice this through games or every day situations with either going first or last.

How to be Happy for our Friends

Sometimes we can get jealous of our friends if something good happens to them or they get to do something we don’t get to do. Talk to your teen about jealousy and how to be happy for our friends if something good happens to them. If they get an award or noticed at school for something you can help teach them how to congratulate their friend.

How to Develop Coping Strategies

When we interact with others, we can go through feeling a variety of emotions. If something is not going our way, how do we deal with the frustration and anger? Help teach your teen effective coping strategies and ways to identify their own emotions so they can tell when they are getting frustrated.

How to Resolve Conflicts and Solve Problems

We will likely experience conflicts when we are interacting with friends. We will not always get along and will need to be able to identify when we need to say sorry or apologize for certain actions. Talk to your teen about strategies to help them understand how to solve problems and resolve conflict. Create a list of strategies your teen could use to help them understand how they could resolve conflict. When they get angry are they going to walk away and let themselves calm down before talking about the situation?

Empathy

Empathy is your ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. Empathy helps us to relate to our friends. Talk to your teen about empathy and situations on how they may need to put themselves in another’s pair of shoes.

Practice Kindness

Talk to your teen about ways to show kindness to others. You can talk about ways you can help others or compliment someone. Showing acts of kindness is a great way to show others that you care.

Ask the Teacher

If you are having a hard time finding others for your teen to connect with, their teacher may know of kids at school that would be a good fit for your teen.

Know the Limits

Understand when your teen has had enough with socializing or may need time away from others. Pay attention to their non-verbal behaviors and notice when they have had too much. Help them to learn how to identity when they have had enough in certain social situations and when they need to walk away or tell others no. We all need breaks from others as a way to re-boot our own body systems.

Review the Social Situations

Help your teen analyze how a social situation went to help them better understand future situations. What would you have done different next time? What went well about the social situation?

Raise Awareness

Always be a good advocate for your teen. If you need to, talk with parents, teachers, or students about your teen and some things that they may struggle with to help others be more aware of the situation. Advocate for equal rights at school and out in the community.

Identify Goals

Make sure you are talking with your teen to know what they want when it comes to friends. Your teen is the number one priority. What do they want? Do they want to make one friend or lots of friends? What goals does your teen tell you they want to work on? Help your teen identify their goals and learn to break down those goals into small accomplishable steps.

Social Situations for Making Friends

 

We would LOVE your help! Fill out a couple questions with honest answers to help us best be able to serve you and your family on your journey to helping your teenager with autism as they start this transition phase into adulthood. We went to provide you with amazing resources and content that will best serve you! Check it out here and then you can download our FREE Checklist!

Click Here to Download!

We also wanted to share with you some more resources to help you find teaching strategies for you and your teen.

Using social scripts is a great way to help your teen understand new situations and be able to talk through the situations beforehand.  Check out the Social Scripts Mini Flip Books Bundle Pack 

Personal space is a big thing to understand when we want to make friends. We need to understand when we may be invading someone’s personal space and start to make them feel uncomfortable.e Check out the Personal Space Social Skill Pack

Below are a list of books that we thought may be helpful for you and your family when talking about social skills and friendships.

My Mouth is a Volcano

 

The Science of Making Friends, Helping Socially Challenged Teens and Young Adults 

Social Skills for Teenagers with Developmental and Autism Spectrum Disorders: The PEERS Treatment Manual 

The Social Skills Guidebook: Manage Shyness, Improve Your Conversations, and Make Friends, Without Giving Up Who You Are

How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships 

 

 

 

 

 

Please let us know if there are strategies that have worked well for your family and your teen when it comes to making friends. We are always wanting to learn from you as well!

We would LOVE your help! Fill out a couple questions with honest answers to help us best be able to serve you and your family on your journey to helping your teenager with autism as they start this transition phase into adulthood. We went to provide you with amazing resources and content that will best serve you! Check it out here and then you can download our FREE Checklist!

Click Here to Download!