Graduate project

Youth on the Autism Spectrum: A Manual to Facilitate Social Skills Through A Variety of Games

Individuals that are on the Autism Spectrum have difficulties with daily life skills, especially those that fall in the social skills category. Some areas of difficulty are collaboration, problem solving, taking turns, controlling emotions and communicating with others. Social skills are an important part of one’s behavior, and can affect multiple areas of functioning, making these skills crucial to work on. Social skills are often taught to secondary school students as they transition into adulthood, which can be a difficult time for those on the Autism Spectrum. Without the needed skills, they may have poor educational outcomes as well as a lack of opportunities for employment. Introducing these individuals to a variety of board games, and role-playing games can provide them with opportunities to engage in the needed social skills, practicing them with their peers. Playing games can also help them to build relationships with their peers, which research shows as being crucial for how successful the individual will be in their future lives, including both academic, career and personal relationships. Playing games helps the players understand others, communicate (verbally and non-verbally), and problem- solve, which can help them gain more socially acceptable behaviors. A manual was created that details the types of games, materials needed, instructions, and skills that can be used and supported to help individuals with ASD practice social skills. Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Board games, High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder, Life skills, Role-playing games, Social skills

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