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Social skills: Conversation Skills For Students With Autism

By Rosemarie Griffin

Working on conversation skills for students with autism can be a challenge. If your student has a goal to work on conversation skills, use the strategies below.

  1. We must first identify what our student enjoys. This will give us a wonderful starting point. Does your student love to shop at Justice? If so, “What store do you like?” might be a great conversation starter. Does your student love cookies? If so, “What dessert do you like?” might be a functional social language question.
  2. Have a visual ready to show your student when you first start work on the question. If you have a student working on answering “What do you like to do during break time?” and the answer is take read, make sure to have a picture to show the student of reading. A visual prompt may be needed to teach the student to answer the question with a logical answer. Once the student is able to answer the question with the visual present, slowly fade this prompt.

Social skills conversation is a wonderful blog post with a step by step guide on getting started.            3. Does the student have the opportunity to answer the question when asked by other adults in the environment ( a teacher,             paraprofessional, etc…), this will help to generalize the skill.

Social skills and conversation are essential to help a student increase their communication skills.           4.Generalize the skill to answering a question from a peer. Can you work with the student in a small group with other peers?            If so start the group with social questions and include the specific questions you have worked on with your student. Being able to answer a question from a peer is a major milestone for a student with autism. This is the start of a conversation!!!

The next time you start to work on conversation skills with a student with autism, use the steps listed above. Social interaction is a gift that all students should learn how to enjoy! Want a list of free conversation starters, just fill out the form below and it will come right to you!!

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Here's a free resource–

IEP Goal Bank

Writing IEPs for autistic learners can feel daunting.


From this free download, you'll get real-life examples of specific, measurable goals for expressive language, receptive language, play skills, and imitation.

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