Social Skills/Peer Play

Behavioral Skills Training (BST)

If you notice that your child struggles to build relationships with others, avoids eye contact, has trouble responding in conversation, or doesn’t seem to “fit in” with peers, he or she may benefit from social skills instruction. Social relationships and the nuances that surround daily interactions often present challenges to children with autism. BCOTB views social skills as an important group of behaviors that can be taught and learned with appropriate instructional techniques. Research suggests that Behavioral Skills Training (BST) is a highly effective way to teach social skills.

BST consists of the following steps:

  1. Providing instruction for the specific skill to be learned
  2. Demonstrating the skill
  3. Rehearsing the skill with the child
  4. Providing positive and corrective feedback
  5. Rehearsing the skill again if the child made a mistake during the first rehearsal. BCOTB utilizes BST to teach a variety of social skills including listening, asking for help, making eye contact, contributing to discussions, asking questions, and many more.

BCOTB typically teaches social skills in either a group format, with each child having a one-on-one therapist, or during individualized therapy. Each of our three locations holds a social skills group about once a year (depending on the number of children available) for 12 weeks. These social skills groups take place in a small group format (average of 5-6 children), with each child having his or her own therapist. Before the social skills group begins, we meet with each child’s parents/caretakers to pinpoint areas of strength and areas for improvement. The skills identified from this collaboration are then targeted during social skills instruction and are taught utilizing Behavioral Skills Training (BST).

BCOTB also teaches social skills during individual therapy. Sessions take place in-clinic, with the child’s therapist teaching him or her through BST. The therapist then provides opportunities for each child to practice learned skills with other children who are also receiving social skills instruction.

For more information regarding BCOTB’s social skills programs, please contact us at (813) 814-2000.