To Social Skills Group or Not?

We are facing a big question in our house – whether or not we should look at enrolling our 9 year-old fourth-grade Aspie into a social skills group. He was in one around the age of six and he seemed to enjoy it. However, if you ask him about it, he’ll tell you it didn’t work. He’s told me on numerous occasions that he remembers a group he went to that was supposed to teach him how to play with others…”but it didn’t work.”

I think that my son’s awareness of the purpose of the group and that it was a failure is a good start, right? I thought it worked but he seems to think it didn’t. Anyhow, as he is getting older his aloofness in social situations is becoming more apparent. He doesn’t mind it but is open to attending a social skills group if we think it is best for him. Smart kid – “you’re the mom, if you think it is good for me then I’ll do it.” Hey kid, I think EATING is good for you, can you eat more so you can weigh more than 50 pounds? Okay, so I digress but his weight is also a big issue right now, as well. He laughed when I told him about the eating thing, though, so at least he’s got a good sense of humor!

So wise parents, what do you say – should we try a social skills group again?

About Melissa

Melissa is the mother of two children on the autism spectrum and strives to provide information about all aspects of autism through her blog, The Autism Education Site. Follow Melissa on Twitter. Like me on Facebook.

© Melissa Hincha-Ownby and The Autism Education Site, 2008-2014.


  1. I’d recommend trying this social group experience based on his previous successful experience, especially if he doesn’t resist aggressively. For me his reluctance to socialize is the particular symptome of Asperger, that should be overcome, rather then nurtured by the parents. Otherwise it looks like fostering his addiction to lonelness and working for the benefit of autism.

    My 9 yo Aspy son always resist actively agaist visiting the theater. However, once I managed him to be there, he becomes fully involved in the drama sharing and expressing all the emotions. These magic moments are worth all the effors. So it’s just a matter of tactics, not a strategy.


    • Thanks Karina, I appreciate your feedback and your right, he’s content to do his own thing. My son was in dance for several years (hip hop) and like your son, there was a little resistance at first but once we got there he was fully involved and got out there during performances and it was so great to see! I think we’ll go ahead and get him signed up with a social skills group again. :)

  2. Jennifer Shore says:

    My 7 year old son (high functioning PDD) has participated in two different approaches to social skills over the past three years and I think that both models have worked well, but differently for him.

    One was an arts-based approach which helped to build skills in a very subtle way. (This same group now offers a Legos-based program, as well.) He thought it was just a weekly art class, but the activities involved structured sharing, turn-taking, active listening and engagement as a part of the curriculum.

    Presently he is in a group which is based on the Social Thinking curriculum and it is completely different. There is a specific vocabulary associated with the program and the learning is much more overt and concrete. I have even shared some of the information with his team at school to have some carryover, if/when possible.

    You know your child best and can explore the different approaches to social skills available in your area to determine which might offer the greatest benefit to him.