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Building social awareness in autistic and ADHD kids

adhd social awareness autism social awareness Jan 29, 2024

The number one concern I hear from parents is that their child or teen or young adult doesn't have friends. That is by far the primary reason parents enroll their kiddos in my program.

The second most common observation parents share with me is that their kiddo doesn't get social clues and cues. They are socially naive, confused, overwhelmed or frustrated.

In this week's podcast/YouTube episode, I'm sharing all the things I teach in the second module of my program here at Starfish Social Club. This module is called 'Awareness', and it focuses on helping students not only build their awareness of the social world, but also learn what to do with the information they are noticing.  

Here's a clip from the episode:

One of the big concerns that people have about kiddos with social learning challenges is that they don't pick up on social clues or cues. They don't recognize them. And I have found, and I believe, that that's not always what's happening. I find that my kids do recognize social clues and cues, but they don't know what to do with that information. So if I asked students, you know, 'What are some signs that somebody's not interested in what you're talking about?' Or, 'What are some signs that you've said something that somebody else doesn't like, or that you're bothering somebody else?' Most of the time the kids are aware of that. They know what the clues and cues are. Where they get stuck sometimes is knowing what to do when that happens. And I think it's because when we make a plan to do something or to talk about something and it doesn't work out the way we expected it to, we don't always know what else to do. So I call this making a plan B. This is what I thought was going to happen and I don't know what else to do. 

Listen to the podcast episode. 

Watch on YouTube.

On a personal note: I often overemphasize social cues when I'm working with my students, especially when they are first learning. This helps things be more obvious to them. It's one of the reasons our kids tend to like animated movies and shows so much; everything is overemphasized. They don't have to try to figure out how someone is feeling when that character's eyes are bugging out of their head and their jaw is hanging open!