Cooperative Behaviors in Children and Teens With Autism

Learning how to cooperate with others is an essential skill in life, but teaching this to children and teenagers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be challenging.

Cooperation involves skills like sharing, taking turns, and following instructions. Kids need all these to communicate correctly and get along with others in social situations.

That is why cooperative behaviors are crucial for succeeding at school, in relationships with others, and extracurricular activities.

Why children and teenagers with ASD may struggle to cooperate

Some children and teenagers with autism have difficulties cooperating, and this can interfere with their everyday lives.

Generally, this is due to a lack of understanding of the instructions they receive. This problem can be caused by things like:

  • Receiving too many instructions: children and teens with ASD need extra time to process what you tell them and can feel overwhelmed if they have to do too many things at once.
  • A complicated instruction: in some cases, children don’t have the right skills to do what they’re asked.
  • Vague instructions: children might have trouble cooperating if it is not clear what they’re supposed to do. The best you can do is being as clear as possible and using simple language.

Children with ASD might be uncooperative because they haven’t learned the appropriate behavior for different social situations yet.

How to develop cooperative behaviors

Parents and teachers can help their children develop the skills necessary for a lifetime of positive friendships and social connections by stimulating cooperative behaviors early on. Here are some suggestions for teaching them how to cooperate:

Setting limits

Setting limits means sending a firm message to your children about what they can and cannot do. Having limits help them stay safe and cuts down on uncooperative behavior.

Setting an example in the house and with their friends

Parents must teach their children how to cooperate by modeling this behavior with family and friends. For example, parents can do things like asking for something in a friendly way, wait for their turns, and work with others. By setting the example, kids will learn to repeat these actions and value the importance of cooperation.

Playing cooperative games

Playing games can be an excellent way to teach cooperation because it allows parents to reinforce their children’s development, regardless of their abilities. Offering your kids the opportunity to practice their skills in a controlled environment will help them learn how to interact in other situations.

Cooperating is a vital skill that children will need throughout their lives. Parents and teachers have the responsibility to model their behavior and motivate them to work harmoniously with others.

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