social skills for treating autism

Social Skills for Treating Autism

Cultivating good social skills is a critical part of your child's life. Social skills can help your child successfully communicate with others, make good choices, and know how to behave in a variety of settings.

Developing children learn most of their social skills through imitation and observation. However, children with developmental delays have difficulty reading those social cues and interpreting non-verbal communication. For those children, these skills need to be directly taught.

Customized Social Skills Programs

small group learning skills

Small Group Learning

We work with small groups of children as specific skills are taught, practiced, and reinforced throughout the program.

social skills therapy classroom sessions

Effective Classroom Settings

Our social skills therapy sessions are set up like a classroom setting with one lead social skills teacher instructing the class, exposing the child to a school-like environment and establishing familiarity.

team based shadowing therapy

Team-based Guidance

Classroom settings also have "shadows" - therapists that are paired with 2-3 children each who help them with following directions, paying attention, behaving appropriately and making good choices.

How Social Skills Improves Development

  • Improving listening and attention
  • Asking for help
  • Apologizing
  • Maintaining conversations
  • Sharing
  • Asking for permission
  • Maintaining positive social interactions/relationships
  • Self-control during anger or frustration
  • Using appropriate body language
  • Problem solving techniques
  • Self care, grooming and hygiene
  • Being a good sport and a good friend

Koala (4-7 years old)

SSY Koala Program: Ages 4-7 years of age.

Ratio: 3:1 - Offered at 290, Katy and SugarLand locations

The Koala Class is designed for children who have developmental delays but have the prerequisite skills to begin to transition in a group setting, which prepares them to successfully attend a PPCD, special education or mainstream class depending on the child’s cognitive, social and behavioral skills.

The classroom set-up is modeled to simulate a Pre-K / Kindergarten classroom. The objective of this social skills class will focus on group transitions, following group directions, answering social questions, maintaining behavioral control in group settings, completing tasks independently, asking for assistance, appropriate peer play, turn taking and conversational skills.

Children will also be exposed to classroom readiness skills as well as social skills to foster positive peer relationships. The success of transitioning into less restrictive settings is based on the child’s ability to understand the social and behavioral expectations. These expectations are directly addressed in this class setting to provide the required skills to be successful in the school setting.

Skills Include:

  • Identifying emotions
  • Identifying name, address, and necessary personal information
  • How to react and respond to a variety of situations
  • Employability - sustained attention to task and ability to complete a task independently
  • Transitioning between activities
  • Self-help - meal preparation, folding clothes, household chores

After Completion

After completing the SSY Class, a child may be able to successfully attend a PCCD, special education, or mainstream class, depending on the child’s academic performance. With the child’s increased ability to follow group direction and complete tasks independently, many of the obstacles that get in the way of a group learning environment should be greatly reduced.


  • Ages 4-7
  • Must attend an initial consultation meeting to determine eligibility for the class
  • Child must bring own lunch

Polar (5+ years old)

Social Skills Class - Ages 5+

A one-on-one class, offered at the 290, Katy and SugarLand Locations (2 hour class/day)

The Polar Class is designed for patients children five years of age and older, who require continued 1:1 treatment, which will prepare him/her to focus on increasing and generalizing independence within a structured group setting. The objective of this class will focus on the patient following a visual schedule to transition across designated activities.

The class will address goals like sitting and being with peers, greeting peers and therapist, learning basics about the weather and calendar. The patient will be guided in working towards developing and fostering appropriate leisure skills. Daily living skills, self-help and grooming skills will also be targeted during the session.

Skills focused on will include:

  • Transitioning across activities using a visual schedule and less dependency on therapist prompts/assistance
  • Tolerate a group setting with peers and attend to directions with environmental distractions
  • Initiate and respond appropriately to greetings from peers and therapist
  • Understand the basics of calendar and weather to make informed decisions
  • Develop individualized leisure skills to foster areas of strength
  • Participate in daily-living, self-help, grooming skills (personal care and hygiene

Getting Your Child in a Social Skills Program at TDLC

The children in our classes are matched with peers of similar ages and academic, social, and language abilities. In order to do this, we screen your child very carefully, via a mandatory initial consultation meeting. This meeting can be set up by calling our office.

We currently do not serve children older than 10 years. Children who demonstrate severe developmental delays or behaviors that interfere with their own or the other children's learning are not considered ready or appropriate for our Social Skills Class. If a child seems unable to understand and follow the concepts taught, or demonstrates behavior that disrupts the class repeatedly, we will suggest that the child be removed from the class and placed in our one-on-one ABA therapy program.

TDLC Provides Help With Insurance

We know that insurance for autism can often be complex and at times, overwhelming. For that reason, we maintain an on-board staff ready to answer your questions or assist you with your insurance intake needs.

Learn About Our Autism Treatment Programs