Teaching social skills to people with autism

Behav Modif. 2001 Oct;25(5):785-802. doi: 10.1177/0145445501255007.


The treatment of social skills deficits remains one of the most challenging areas in meeting the needs of people with autism. Difficulties in understanding social stimuli, in initiating and responding to social bids, and in appreciating the affect that is intrinsic to social interactions can be baffling for people with autism. Researchers and practitioners of applied behavior analysis have tried a variety of strategies for teaching social skills. This article examines a range of useful procedures for teaching social skills to people with autism, including skills that are adult mediated, peer mediated, and child-with-autism mediated. The authors also consider the potential of classwide interventions in inclusive settings, pivotal response training, and the use of scripts to teach social initiations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology
  • Autistic Disorder / therapy*
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Peer Group*
  • Social Adjustment
  • Social Facilitation*
  • Teaching / methods