Children with autism normally struggle with social skills, whether it is playing nicely with their peers and siblings, or enjoying a birthday party. Here at EAP Malaysia, we want to make sure that our kids grow up having learnt how to share, take turns and most importantly, interact appropriately with their friends and families. Therefore, we have set up Social Skills Group Classes for our kids, with different group classes catering to the different needs of the children.
What is a Social Skills Group Class?
It is a support group for individuals on the spectrum to come together and learn social skills in a group setting. We teach each child on what is expected of them in different situations such as ordering food in a restaurant and talking to their friends in a birthday party. We show them how they can build and form meaningful friendships among themselves as well as their friends and families. Another thing individuals with ASD often struggle with is accepting other people’s ideas and point of views. In our social skills group classes, the children learn to accept that their friends and teachers can have a say in a situation, too, and that their opinions matter just as much. At the end of the day, we want our children to leave with a sense of success, knowing that they have gone that one step further in learning social skills.
Who can attend our Social Skills Group Classes?
As mentioned earlier, we have made available different group classes to cater to the wide spectrum of kids. There are four group classes in total:
1. Advanced A Social Skills Group Class
This group class caters to the older advanced learners i.e. 10 years of age and above. The general skills they pick up from this class includes:
- Understanding and accepting each other’s opinions and ideas
- Learning to compromise
- Brainstorming and working in a group setting
An example of an activity facilitated in an Advanced A Social Skills Group Class is going on a field trip or community trip, where they are required to plan the day amongst themselves, including location, budgeting, transportation and the activities they want to carry out. They also learn to prepare simple dishes together such as pancakes and brownie in a mug, as well as helping other people make drinks such as milo and coffee.
2. Advanced B Social Skills Group Class
This group class is for advanced learners as well, but it is especially for the younger ones i.e. 6 to 9 years of age. The social skills they learn include:
- Building friendships
- Joining in a conversation, and even starting one with their peers
- Expected rules in different social settings
- Cooperative play with one another (one child will lead the group in a game, and the rest will follow suit)
A treasure hunt is just one of the many examples of games that require them to converse with one another as well as encourage teamwork. Apart from games, we ensure that the kids constantly interact with one another throughout the class.
3. Intermediate Social Skills Group Class
For the intermediate learners aged 5 and above, this class is just right for them. The skills targeted in this class are:
- Staying in a group
- Playing together
- Exposing themselves to interactive games among themselves (Hide and Seek, Fox and Hen, Musical Chairs etc)
The kids get to find out details about their friends by asking simple questions amongst themselves. For example, with the help of a facilitator, they learn to ask each other about their favourite colours, food and even the name of their best friends. This is called talking time, where they learn to have small talks with their peers.
4. Toddler Social Skills Group Class
The final category of group class we have is for the early learners, aged 2 to 4. These kids learn the simplest social skills such as:
- Turn taking
- Waiting for their turn
- Sharing with their friends
- Tolerate sitting next to their peers
- Tolerate playing together
Children with early learner skills are not expected make conversations among themselves. Foreshadowing and prompting is usually involved. Also, because their attention span is short, the games or activities facilitated are very short, and always end successfully.
When do these group classes happen?
All four group classes are held termly, and they run for 8 consecutive weeks.
- Advanced A group class
Mondays starting 12th October, 4.30pm – 6.00pm
- Advanced B group class
Fridays starting 16th October, 3.30pm – 5.00pm
- Intermediate group class
Mondays starting 12th October, 3.30pm – 4.30pm
- Toddler group class
Wednesdays starting 22nd October, 11.00am – 11.30am and 4.00pm – 4.30pm
Our social skills group classes are open to all, but a separate screening by our very own clinical supervisor is required beforehand. To register your child, contact us at 03-20940421 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to see your child at one of our social skills group classes!