Autism Q & A: Social Skills (Autism Center for Excellence, ACE, at VCU)
Social communication and social skill difficulties are core characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Deficits in social skills often have negative consequences that impact individuals’ outcomes in inclusive learning opportunities in schools and inclusive engagement in the communities. Though this social component is a widely known hallmark of ASD, intervention to support individuals’ mastery of these skills is still emerging in classroom and community environments across the country. Effective social skill training requires explicit instruction in social expectations and practice opportunities in a variety of natural settings with multiple peers and partners. Due to the wide range of abilities and needs in the area of social communication, social skills training requires a high level of individualization based on the learner as social skills are highly diverse and vary greatly depending on context.