ADULT SOCIAL SKILLS MERLIN L TAYLOR JR | PHD | CCC-SLP | BCBA-D | Aspie A Learning Process
The Agenda To discuss the development of social skills in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) To talk about a work currently in progressat the Transformations Autism Treatment Center (TATC) To engage in an exercise intended to simulate some of what an adult (or adolescent) individual with ASD can encounter in social situations.
Sound • Production • Meaningful • Segments • Speech • Words • Building • Phrases • Social Adaptation
A.K.A. PRAGMATICS What does it involve?
SIMPLY:Ability to learn, problem solve, etc. BUT IT’S COMPLICATED— Not synonymous with level of function For an individual with ASD, level of function will in large part reflect social success!
SIMPLY:(kind of self-explanatory) BUT IT’S COMPLICATED— You want me to retrieve a bunch of words from memory, use these to formulate coherent and meaningful phrases, then produce these accurately and intelligibly—oh, and also guarantee that nobody is confused or offended? Sure.
SIMPLY:Respecting “personal space,” etc. BUT IT’S COMPLICATED— Can vary across cultures, between individuals, and at different times. “Body language” can be very difficult to read.
SIMPLY:Respecting social roles and rankings BUT IT’S COMPLICATED— Invisible, intangible, sometimes irrational, rarely explicit and often poorly defined.
SIMPLY:Knowing what occasions warrant certain words and behaviors BUT IT’S COMPLICATED— No two occasions are exactly alike.
SIMPLY:(kind of self-explanatory) BUT IT’S COMPLICATED— Proprioception—awareness of the physical self—is a key deficit in cases of ASD. Without body awareness, awareness of one’s own thoughts and emotions is highly problematic.
REALLY NOT SIMPLE AT ALL Another word for interpersonal insight is…
…because he feared having to grieve—and losing the respect ofhis fellow professionals?)
We who live “on the spectrum” experience the same fears as everyone else…
In most—if not all—social situations We fear failure (e.g.: failure to be understood) We fear ridicule We fear ostracism We fear attack We fear feelings we might not be able to control We fear being wrong when everyone else is right In short, we fear others and we fear ourselves.
Moreover Having a longer history of negative social experiences that give rise to and validate fears…
Moreover …having had more time to develop cognitive awareness of things to be feared (a significant reason why cognitive development is not a consistent predictor of social success)…
Moreover ..and still having atypical sensory processing problems that put us at a disadvantage in many social environments (e.g.: crowded walkways; noisy workplaces; stores with old fluorescent lighting)…
… we expend a considerable portion of whatever cognitive capacity and mental energy we possess just trying to control fear!
Nonetheless… ..those who work with us—even (and especially) in clinical settings—so often expect us to surmount our fears in stride. Our experiences tell us otherwise: that often we surmount one figurative hurdle…
another workplace in which to blunder along until asked (or forced) to leave