Board game meetups are a great place for high functioning people on the autism spectrum to socialize. I was part of a board game group that had several neurodivergent players. However, one player had a difficult time. Sometimes they said things that offended other players. They cheated when teaching new players which made their opponents angry. They were unaware of their problem, due to “context blindness,” the inability to see how the context interacts with other social cues. It was clear they had not received social skills training as a child, and eventually, they were forced out of the group. It was upsetting to watch the process unfold. No one was mean directly. They were mostly excluded from gatherings. It is not unusual for a person on the autism spectrum, especially when they are young, to be excluded from a group. However, by the time they are adults, many learn to fit in. However, undiagnosed and untreated, they are likely to be excluded, but with training, more people on the autism spectrum find their place.
Social skills training
Social skills are taught to people on the spectrum, such as turn-taking, using your eyes to gather nonverbal information, teaching expected and unexpected norms and much more, but how do you teach society to accept and appreciate difference? Walls of words, nonverbal language and innuendo make it difficult for people on the spectrum to make connections and fit in. Inclusive communication skills need to be taught to all our children from elementary school through college. Children and teens need to learn to work in groups, negotiate conflict, and work through differences. Despite our ability to teach people on the autism spectrum, the rules of conversation and other social skills, their ultimate success, relies on everyone learning to be better communicators.
Communication in our society is problematic right now. Politicians bully other politicians. People in authority and in the media lie and pretend it is truth. In our everyday life, we talk on cell phones while sitting next to our friends and family. Furthermore, our children are learning to text their friends instead of visiting them. People unfriend their friends and acquaintances on Facebook, ghost them in messages or just cancel them. The few honest conversations we have are often on social media platforms like TikTok and Facebook. How do we teach neurotypical people with social skills deficits to communicate in this environment? Is it their job to fit into society’s communication standard, or is it also society’s responsibility to communicate in a more inclusive manner?
Communication Skills in Our Society Need to Change
Communication skills are one of the most important skills that we can teach all of our children. Judging by the current conversations being held by adults, our educational system is not doing a sufficient job of teaching communication skills that support our society. All children, not just those on the autism spectrum or with language disabilities, need help to develop strong communication skills. We should learn to listen and value differences, even if it is uncomfortable, so that many people who are different, including those on the autism spectrum, can be included.
Here are communication practices that should never be tolerated Punishment should be communication training .
2.) Hate Speech