How To Make Friends

 I have always wanted to teach social skills. I often imagine children using manners, saying, “Please, and Thank You,” and showing them to be friends. To have a friend; you must be a  friend first. As I continue working with the  Intellectually Disabled and Autistic population, I realize social skills are so necessary to learn, but how can they be taught? How do parents teach their children not only how to be friendly but how to be a friend?
What is a friend? According to Webster dictionary, “one attached to another by affection.” Friendship, real friendship needs compromise. Friendship is about listening and hearing. Friendship is about being vulnerable.  Friendship is about communication. These skills inherently are the type of competencies, Autistic individuals, as well as Intellectual Disabled population, naturally, lack.  Friendship is a gift that requires work,
Here are few tips to teach Social Skills
Start with a social story.
Enlist the help of others in the class or social space, and model or act out the appropriate behavior and expectations you want to see. Repetition is the mother of success, so this behavior model needs to be consistent.
Encourage Eye Contact
Have a Staring Contest.  Eye contact shows you are interested in what people have to say. It also shows one is listening.
 Playing games which require turn taking
 Games which have instructional cards such as Monopoly,  and Sequence are excellent games to play also old school card games such as UNO, Goldfish and OldMaid are games which require following a direction sequence as well encourages communication.

Acting and Storytelling.

Children have the best imaginations. It is amazing what an empty laundry basket and an empty cardboard have the ability to become. When presented with these options, kids are allowed to express themselves tell their friends. In some of my classrooms, empty cardboard boxes have become spaceships, rockets, trains, and cars. As children use their imagination, they are encouraged to tell their friend what they have created