50 Social Skills for Teens

50 Social Skills for Teens

Get over 50 different social skills for teens that you can help them learn.

Social Skills for Teens

Our family understands some of the difficulties that can come with teaching social skills. We are working everyday to help teach my brother specific social skills. We have tried different ways to help him learn these skills. We have used modeling behaviors, talking through different situations, social stories, social situation cards, and videos to show the different social skills.

We have created a list of 50+ social skills that we feel are valuable for teens to learn as they start their transition into adulthood. We hope you can find this list helpful!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure for further details. 

Get the Free Life Skills Year-at-a-Glance Plan

Click HERE or click the image below to get the FREE Life Skills curriculum teaching ideas for each month! I have included a Social Skills Curriculum filled with teaching ideas for each month!

Life Skills Curriculum Year at a Glance Planner

50+ Social Skills for Teens to Learn

  1. how to talk with peers
  2. asking for help
  3. accepting criticism
  4. how to stay safe in new situations
  5. understanding sarcasm
  6. how to tell someone no
  7. stranger safety
  8. resisting peer pressure
  9. problem solving skills
  10. understanding how my actions affect others
  11. understanding my own feelings
  12. being able to understand feelings of peers
  13. following directions
  14. how to handle conflict with others
  15. how to work as a group/team
  16. how to listen to someone speaking
  17. understanding nonverbal body language
  18. understanding safety with social media/technology
  19. safety with sex
  20. safety with dating
  21. how to talk about your own interests with peers
  22. when it is appropriate to laugh/cry
  23. when it is good to smile
  24. how to show respect to others
  25. good manners
  26. how to show interest in what another person is talking about
  27. how you would act around a “boss or authority figure”
  28. how to talk with friends
  29. how to act when we get mad
  30. how to walk away from situations
  31. how to act in a public area vs private area
  32. how to act at a party
  33. how to talk about your own strengths/weaknesses
  34. how to ask for directions
  35. how to call 911 if you are in danger
  36. how to talk with or ask questions with doctors (medical appointments)
  37. how to make a phone call to schedule something
  38. how to talk on the phone
  39. what your own body language looks like when talking with someone
  40. how to go to the grocery store to purchase groceries
  41. what to do when you are in danger
  42. what to do if there was an active shooter (I wish I didn’t even have to think about this situation)
  43. what to do if you don’t feel well (sick)
  44. how to have a conversation with someone you don’t know
  45. how to speak up in a group
  46. how to appropriately text someone on the phone
  47. how to appropriately post information on social media
  48. how to travel safely
  49. accepting differences
  50. how to stay on topic
  51. showing empathy
  52. how to get along with people you may not like
  53. waiting in a line
  54. patience

Are there any social skills you would like us to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!

Here is a FREE printable with the social skills listed above for you to have as your own reference! Get your free copy of the social skills checklist here!

Social Skills for Teens
Neurodivergent Life Skills Membership

How can we help teenagers learn social skills?

There are various ways we can help teens learn social skills. We all learn in different ways. We need to remember to have patience and kindness when working on these skills. Some social skills come easy to some and not for others. Be respectful and kind when working on these skills. Here are a list of ideas on ways you can work on social skills.

  • Model appropriate social behavior
  • Practice the social skills with adults and peers
  • Talk through different situations
  • Create social stories or social scripts for the situations
  • Become involved in social groups
  • Become involved in acting groups
  • Become involved in team building groups or high interest activities with peers
  • Participate in sports activities
  • Watch videos, showing how to work on the social skills

What are some ways you have been able to work on social skills?

Get your free copy of the social skills checklist here!

Social Skills for Teens

Are there any social skills you would like us to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below! Here is a FREE printable with the social skills listed above for you to have as your own reference!  

Other products and posts you will love!

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  3. Life Skills and Independence:
  4. Coping Strategies:
  5. Social and Executive Functioning:

50 Social Skills for Teens
Your Words Matter When Talking to Children and Teens with Autism

Your Words Matter When Talking to Children and Teens with Autism

Your Words Matter When Talking to Children and Teens with Autism

I am always fascinated when talking with my younger brother about different social situations he has experienced. One that always stands out to me is that he apologized for the way he acted in Kindergarten when he would run out of the classroom or other behaviors he would experience as a 15 year old! He can vividly remember certain actions or behaviors he did when he was in kindergarten, but was unable to talk to us at that time to understand why he was acting a certain way.

Fast forward 10 years and now he is able to verbally tell us and explain to us why he acted a certain way or what he can vividly remember from that time in his life. I am so blown away by my brother and what he is able to accomplish. He is truly an amazing person.

I wanted to share this story with you, because sometimes I think we forget that everyone has the ability to understand what we are saying or what they are doing, but they may not have the ability to communicate that with you at that time. That does not mean they do not understand you or the situation though.

Your Words Matter when talking to Children and Teens with Autism #Autism #children #teens

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure statement for further details.

Be Mindful of what you say to EVERYONE!

We need to be mindful of what we say and how we talk to EVERYONE, but especially people who are non verbal or have limited communication skills. Even though someone may have difficulty verbally communicating with you, does not mean they do not understand what you are saying to them. They can very well understand if you are calling them bad names or even using a harsh tone when you are speaking with them.

Instead of using negative language, make sure you are ALWAYS talking to them as you would any other person. Please use positive language with them and talk with them as they are your best friend. Please do not change your tone of voice or how you word something to someone with autism.

Our Thoughts can become our Actions

When working as an occupational therapist and interacting with many children and parents I have learned how powerful our thoughts can be. When we start to use negative thoughts with things, we can start to treat those things worse than if we spoke positively about them. This can be true towards people, ourselves, or situations. If we start to think bad thoughts about a person or that they are stupid we will treat them as such. The relationship can begin to become negative when we think negative thoughts about someone.

Become Aware of your Thoughts

We need to become aware of when we are using these negative thoughts in order to make change. When you are working with a child or in a situation that you are frustrated with take the time to listen to your inner thoughts. How are you thinking about the child or the situation? Are you thinking negatively or positively? My guess is that you are thinking negatively.

How can we change our thoughts?

Reframe your way of thinking…

Think about different situations with the kids or teens you are working with.

“The child is not giving me a hard time. They are having a hard time.”

Give respect to the people in your life. Speak to them in a respectful manner. If I would not say it to a group of people than I should not say it to an individual.

Sometimes we need to Vent

I understand that there are times in our lives when we are overworked and frustrated and we need to be able to vent and talk through these situations to allow us to move on. I am a new parent and a therapist that has been in different situations that I just need to talk to someone about to help me get through the situations.

Be Mindful of who you Vent to

We need to be mindful of who we vent to. Please do not vent in public places where strangers could overhear your conversations. Find a safe person who knows you and knows your kids or a co-worker if it is a job related situation. Find someone who won't judge you and can be supportive of you.

Also how you vent is important too. Do not resort to name calling when talking about a person. There is a big difference when talking negatively about a child vs. talking about the behaviors a child is showing us. When we resort to name calling we are chaining our thoughts about the child and this in turn can continue the cycle of negative ways of thinking. If we can focus on the behaviors this can help us to get productive advice and guidance about how to help change a situation for the child to help them.

When venting, please make sure the child or teen that you are talking about are not around! This can devastate a relationship if a child or teen feels that you are talking negatively about them. Always remember, if you can't say it out loud in a group of people, you should never say it to the individual. We never want to label a child, especially a negative label.

“The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice”-Peggy O'Mara 

In conclusion, what I am trying to say here is be respectful of EVERYONE, but especially children and teens on the autism spectrum. Please be mindful of how you speak to them and never assume they are not listening to you or do not understand you.

Please never talk negatively to someone and we all could work a little harder at using positive words and phrases when talking with people. Here is a list of some positive phrases you can use when working with children and teens with autism. Grab your copy below!

Positive Phrases for Working with Children with Autism

This is not a comprehensive list of positive phrases, but it will give you a start and some ideas of phrases to use. Please be mindful of what you say when working with children and teens with autism. Your words can have a long lasting affect on them. Your words matter when talking and working with children and teens with autism.

18 Tips about Friendship for Teens with Autism

18 Tips about Friendship for Teens with Autism

18 Tips about Friendship for Teens with Autism

*This post may contain affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you. Please see our disclosure statement for further details.

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 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!


Autism Life Skills: 8 Skills to Help Improve Quality of Life

Autism Life Skills: 8 Skills to Help Improve Quality of Life

Learn about different autism life skills you can teach help them improve their quality of life and teaching strategies for life skills.

I am not misbehaving, I do not know how to act in social situations. I do not understand how to read body language or how to ask for help. I don't know how to hold a conversation with my peers. I may look like I am not paying attention, but I am listening. I may not understand how to be okay with change in different situations.

I may get taken advantage of because I don't know how to advocate for myself. I don't know who to trust or how to ask for help. I also don't know how to say no to people. I may get myself into trouble, because I don't know how to evaluate a situation to understand if this is risky. I have a hard time understanding if this might be an unsafe situation for me to be in.

I am not lazy, I may not understand how to care for myself. I may need help with managing my money, how to cook a meal, taking care of myself, going to the store to buy things I need, or how to use transportation to get around. I can have a hard time figuring out how to manage my day and how to manage my time.

I want to figure out how to organize my day, but I don't know how to plan out my day. I don't know how to create a “to do” list or how to plan ahead for changes within my day. If my schedule changes, I can become frustrated and not know how to deal with this.

I want to have a job doing something I like, but I don't know how to find a job or how to be a good employee. I don't know how to talk with my co-workers.

Sometimes I can get so anxious that this keeps me from going outside of my house or trying something new. I don't know how to deal with these overwhelming feelings of anxiety and fearfulness.

Are these questions that you can hear your teen telling you? Do you know how to help your teen learn these everyday life skills?

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure statement for further information.

* On this site I am working on using language that represents the autistic community and what I have learned is that they prefer to use the term autistic instead of person with autism. I am working on making those changes on the site and there may be differences based on what I have been able to update.

Autism Life Skills

Life is a journey for all of us and we all go down different paths. As a parent, we want what is best for our child. We each have a different meaning of success for our child and what their adult life may look like.

Every day is an ongoing process for us to build our own skills to become the person that we want to become. We all have skills that we are really good at and skills that we need help with. Some may always need support in certain areas of their lives.

The more we can think out the future for our teen, the sooner we can start to work on building their strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully, we will have a better idea of where they might be in 5 years to meet their individual levels of success.

Get Your Free Autism Life Skills Checklist!

We have created a FREE Autism Life Skills Checklist for you! Click Here to be able to download the FREE Autism Life Skills Checklist for Teens Transitioning Into Adulthood. 

Autism Life Skills

People Skills

This would also be the area of social skills.  These skills would be things like making friends, asking for help, working in a group, communicating in person or online, holding a conversation with someone, or talking with family members. These are just a few of the social skills we may use every day in our lives. Social skills is such a broad topic and can be very overwhelming to think about how you may go about teaching all of these skills to someone. Social skills can be taught in a variety of ways through social stories, social scripts, practice out in the community, through social groups, acting classes, or through books. Check out your local community to see what resources they may offer for you. Sometimes finding a peer or a mentor for your child to talk through and practice through some of the different scenarios can be helpful as well.

Social Skills Picture Book For High School and Beyond

Middle School: The Stuff Nobody Tells you About 

Self Advocacy Skills

Teaching teens how to get their needs met is such an important skill to learn. Do they understand how to ask for help, who to go to for help, how to ask questions, how to say no, or when to give their own opinion? These skills are vital for your teen to learn to be able to get their own needs met.

Autism Life Skills: From Communication and Safety to Self-Esteem and More

Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum: A Parent's Guide to the Cognitive, Social, Physical, and Transition Needs of Teenagers with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Personal Safety

Keeping your teen safe is a huge priority! Nothing scares me more than seeing kids being taken advantage of because they can't defend themselves. Do they know how to call 911 in an emergency, how to avoid risky situations, how to tell someone no, or understanding when they are in a bad situation? Do they know who they can trust and who is a stranger? There are so many dangerous situations that sometimes we don't realize are dangerous until they happen. Talk with your teen when they are going into new situations to help them be aware of some potentially risky situations. Talk through what to look for and how to assess their environment in unsafe situations. Teach them red flags to help keep them safe.

How to Care for Myself

These would be personal care skills such as daily hygiene, dressing, nutrition, exercise, or coping with stress. Can they complete the basic everyday life skills to be able to care for themselves independently?

Check out our ebook Everyday Life Skills Personal Hygiene Skills for the Bathroom to help you teach your teen personal hygiene skills. Break down the steps to complete each skill to help your teen. Create checklists, visual sequencing cards, or use verbal directions until your teen can find strategies that help them learn the skill.  How to Teach Teenagers with Autism Personal Hygiene Self-Care Tasks.

Does your child or teen struggle with personal hygiene skills due to sensory challenges? Check out our free Personal Hygiene Sensory Strategies Toolkit for help!

Personal Hygiene Sensory Strategies Toolkit

Check out these resources for personal care skills:

Dressing Skills

Taking Care of Myself 

Everyday Life Skills

Practical everyday skills could include cooking meals, shopping, budgeting money, using transportation, home care tasks such as cleaning, laundry, or doing the dishes. If they were living in an apartment or home would they understand how to care for their home to keep it clean and safe? Would they be able to make meals for themselves and safely prepare food? Include your teen in these activities every day to help them practice and understand this routine. Provide them with visual supports such as checklists or visual sequencing cards. They may need verbal prompts as well. Check out your local community to see if they offer classes to help with some of these skills.

Life Skills of the Month

How to Teach Life Skills to Kids with Autism or Asperger's

Executive Functioning Skills

These are skills that help us organize our day. They help us understand how to manage our time and what our routine will be for the day. They are skills that help us plan for our day with understanding our “to do” list, plan ahead for changes in our day, or how to analyze a situation. These are higher-level problem-solving skills to help us make decisions each day.

Learn more about task initiation and autism here.

Job Skills

How will your teen learn to support themselves? Will they be getting a job? How do you help them find a job, create a resume, or gain work experience? Help your teen think about jobs they may like to do or have good strong skills to complete. What are their strengths? Would they do better working on their own or with people? Helping them find a job with their strengths with helping them better succeed at the job. One way to find job opportunities is through volunteer work. Seek out potential jobs that your teen may be good at is contacting local businesses. You could try contacting local sports programs, libraries, grocery stores, churches, or community programs to see if they offer any volunteer opportunities that would be of interest to your teen. Also, do some research for community services in your area to see if they offer job coaches or vocational supports for your teen.

How to Manage my Emotions

Our emotions can make a big difference for us during our day. We can start our day feeling happy or we can feel sad. If we can't understand how to manage our emotions we will have a hard time getting the things we need to get done. If our fear and anxiety get too big, we may not be able to go out into the community. Help your teen through their emotions by using affirmations, building upon their strengths, journaling, talking to them, letting them share how they are feeling with you, or finding calming strategies for them. You can help them learn to identify and recognize their emotions with these real life photo posters and flashcards activity pack.

Check out our Free Calm Down Strategies Toolkit for more tips and resources for calming strategies.

Calm Down Strategies Toolkit for Teens

We have created a FREE Life Skills Checklist for you! Click Here to be able to download the FREE Life Skills Checklist for Teens Transitioning Into Adulthood. 

autism life skills checklist

Related: Other Helpful Life Skills Resources

Teaching Life Skills

Check out the links below for additional help and resources for teaching various life skills.

The Best Functional Life Skills Resources for Autistic Individuals

Feel Successful and Confident Teaching Life Skills

Life Skills to Practice over the Summer Months

Tips for Teaching Money Management Skills to Autistic Teens

How to Help Your Autistic Teen with Organizational Skills

How to Help Autistic Teens Learn How to use the Microwave for Cooking

Disclaimer: Sara Anderson is a pediatric occupational therapist.  The advice in these tips is not to replace medical advice from a physician or your pediatrician. Please consult their advice if you suspect any medical or developmental issues with your child, teen, or adult. These tips do not replace the relationship between therapist and client in a one on one treatment session with an individualized treatment plan based on their professional evaluation.

All activities are designed for complete adult supervision. Please use your own judgment when completing these activities with your child or teen. Learning For a Purpose is not liable for any injury when replicating any of the activities found on this blog.

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Ultimate Guide for Holiday Situations for Children & Teenagers with Autism

Ultimate Guide for Holiday Situations for Children & Teenagers with Autism

Ultimate Guide for Holiday Situations for Children & Teenagers with Autism

*This post may contain affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you, but if you purchase something through our link this will help our family. Please see our disclosure policy for further information.

Ultimate Guide for Holiday Situations for Children and Teenagers with Autism

The Holiday season is quickly approaching and this can bring about excitement, but also new experiences for you and your child. They may cause your family more anxiety and stress with learning the new social situations. These new experiences could include the new holiday decorations inside and out, new foods to experience, family gatherings, and exchanging and receiving presents, just to name a few.

All of these new experiences can cause a lot of sensory overload and anxiety for some kids and we need to be mindful of that this holiday season. How can you tell when your child is experiencing sensory overload?

Pay attention to your child's behaviors. Are they covering their ears or closing their eyes? Are they running away from the situation or crying and melting down? These can be some signs that your child may be experiencing sensory overload.

Check out our FREE Ultimate Holiday Sensory Guide and download the guide below!

Ultimate Holiday Sensory Guide Preview

This guide provides your with fun holiday and winter sensory strategies to help your loved one have a great Holiday Season!

Provides information for these types sensory experiences:

  • Proprioceptive Input
  • Vestibular Input
  • Visual Input
  • Auditory Input
  • Oral Motor Input
  • Olfactory Input
  • Tactile Input
  • Calming Strategies

Strategies you can try to help you Survive the Holiday Season for Children and Teenagers with Autism or Sensory Processing Difficulties

  1. Avoid large crowds by shopping online or going at times during the day when the stores are less busy.
  2. When decorating your home inside and out, do this gradually to help your child adjust to the new decorations. See if there are ways they can help participate in this with you so they can be apart of the decoration process.

We found some Holiday LEGO sets that may be a great option for kids that love to do LEGO activities that they could put together and then you could all enjoy the Holiday masterpiece!

Check out this Holiday LEGO Train set!! 

3. Help your child figure out calm down strategies when they start to feel overwhelmed. This could be finding a safe place in the house where they can calm down and relax. Are there certain toys/games your child enjoys that helps them calm down. My brother loves being able to retreat to his iPad or his computer when he is feeling overwhelmed. If you are at a family members or friends house see if they will allow your child to retreat to another room where it is quiet and they can regroup.

4. Make sure to give your child/teen breaks throughout the day/activity so they can recharge and adjust to the new setting and/or people.

5. Never feel like you have to go to events/activities that you know will be overwhelming for your child/teen. Do what you feel is best for YOUR child to have a great Holiday experience. Try to see the world through your child or teenager's eyes. If they aren't having a good experience, I am sure you are not either.

6. Help your child understand the new routine and if there may be any changes to the plan, so they can better prepare themselves for the new situation. If you need to, try to keep things in a familiar routine for your child especially with bedtime rituals to help them get enough sleep. I know if I don't get enough sleep, I am not able to be the best person the next day.

7. Prepare some quiet time activities to do together to help your child through some of the busy times of the Holiday Season. Check out these Christmas No Sew Quiet Books! 

8. Help your child by talking through new situations so they can feel more prepared for the new situations they may encounter. Check out our Christmas Social Skills Situation and Problem Solving Cards!

Christmas Social skills Situation Cards Preview Image


9. Be proactive and understand that meltdowns will happen during this time and know that it is okay. Recognize the signs for your child to understand when they are starting to feel overwhelmed. Do they start to shut down and retreat, do they run away, do they scream, or do they cry? Try to understand what situations are really hard for your child and try to adapt them so that your child can participate, or it is okay to sit some activities out if it is just too much for your child.

Does your child struggle with the transitions between activities or do they have a hard time waiting their turn if you are opening presents?

  • You could try playing games during the waiting times together. Do they like counting or letters? You could play an I spy game or a scavenger hunt.
  • They could also be the one in charge or handing out the presents to everyone, so they have a specific job to complete.
  • You could play a Christmas song they enjoy and let them know that when the song is over, then it will be their turn again to open presents.
  • Maybe they need to open presents slowly and just open one up and then have the opportunity to play or interact with that present for awhile and then come back to opening more presents.
  • You could try to play interactive physical games during times of waiting or during transitions. You could pretend to be a penguin and waddle around, or jump around like a reindeer.
  • You can make colorful dots out of construction paper and make a colorful ornament obstacle course where they can only step on certain colors. You could play musical chairs with Christmas music.
  • You can always try to use visual timers to help with wait times as well, so the child understands how much time they need to wait for.
  • You could provide them with a tactile or fidget toy to play with during wait times.

Looking for more Behavior Strategies?

Holiday Situation Behavior Strategies Download the PDF Guide and Strategies below by entering your name and email! You will be sent this FREE resource right to your inbox!

The Holiday's can be a stressful time of year for everyone, but especially for children with sensory concerns. We hope that these strategies can be helpful for your child and your family to help you all have a wonderful Holiday Season!

We would love to know if there are strategies that were helpful or if you would like to add more to the list as well! Let us know in the comments below!!


Are you looking for more Amazing FREE resources? Check out our 180+ Amazing FREE Resource Guide for Families with Children with Autism!

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Strategies for Helping Children and Teenagers with Autism with Thanksgiving Social Situations

Strategies for Helping Children and Teenagers with Autism with Thanksgiving Social Situations

Thanksgiving Social Situations For Family Gatherings

Thanksgiving Social Situations

It is that time of year for the Holiday season and this can bring on new experiences, especially new social situations. These new social situations can bring added stress for children and teenagers with autism. Thanksgiving can be a time when we get together with extended family members and this could mean answering a lot of new and confusing questions, especially if the extended family members may not understand your family's situations.

If you are going to a family member's house for Thanksgiving or even having family members over to your house here are some strategies to help your child or teenager feel less stressed. Every person responds to situations differently, and it is important to try to understand what situations are stressful for your child or what activities may be harder for them to deal with. Below are some strategies that you can try to help your family situation.


  • Talk with your child ahead of time:
    • Talk to them about the family gathering so they know who might be coming and what they can expect for the family gathering. Are you going to just eat lunch/dinner and then sit around and watch TV, or will there be games/activities to do with the family? Some children like to understand what will be happening ahead of time and this can help ease anxiety for some children if they know what to expect.
  • What to do if they become overwhelmed:
    • If your child becomes overwhelmed by a large group of people try to have a plan ahead of time to help your child. You could find a room in the house where your child can retreat to. Then they can find quietness and do an activity they enjoy. You could bring a game, book, music, or electronic that they enjoy to help them calm down.
  • What to do if they are feeling anxious:
    • If you can tell they are getting stressed and anxious, help them in those situations by talking with them or helping them walk away for a little while and then try to come back.
  • Try giving them specific tasks:
    • Try giving your child specific jobs you know they can do to help them participate during the mealtime. Such as setting the table, filling up water glasses, bringing food to the table, or telling everyone it is time to eat.
  • What if my child is a super picky eater?
    • If you know they won't eat the food that is being served for dinner, make sure to bring food items you know your child will like to make sure they don't go hungry. Don't feel pressured to make your child eat in front of the family members, as this will be added stress to your child. You can talk to your child about polite ways to say no thank you to foods they do not like.
  • What if a family member asks my child questions they don't know how to answer?
    •  You can help your child in these situations, by answering parts of the question or giving your child more prompts to help them to understand how to better answer the question. You can rephrase the question to be yes or no, or you can ask the question in a way to help guide them to the answer.
  • Remember, in all situations to remain calm and to show your child how to stay calm. If they start to see you get stressed and anxious those feelings can rub off onto your child and then they can start to feel more anxious and stressed.

Social Situation Cards for Problem Solving Different Situations for a Family Gathering

We have created a FREE download for you to help you and your child prepare for a family gathering, by providing you with various social situations you may encounter at a family gathering. This allows you to start to talk about the new and different situations with your child or teenager to help them prepare and understand some of these new situations. Various social situations include topics with grandparents, toddlers & babies, dogs/animals, greetings & goodbyes, when accidents occur, situations with food, and irony and idioms. Download the FREE resource below by providing us with your email address and you will receive an email with the download in your inbox.


Thanksgiving Social Skills Situation Cards Preview

The holiday season can be a time of newness and added stress. We hope these tips and the FREE resource can help you and your loved ones better prepare for the holiday season. Please let us know in the comments below if there are strategies that have worked well for your family! The more strategies we can give for families the better!

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