Social and Emotional Skills

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This recorded webcast will total 120 minutes with a review of theory and practice designed for teachers, paraprofessionals, BCABA’s and BCBA’s working with person’s with autism and other behavior disorders, and other professionals working with adolescents and/or adults with autism, Asperger’s and related disorders.

Though social skill deficit is recognized as a core characteristic of autism spectrum diagnosis, in practice many treatment programs and school classrooms struggle to find ways to accomplish success in this area.  In some cases, social skills are not adequately addressed in the early years due to a perception these skills are too advanced to focus on at such a young age, or not appropriate with children that also have verbal and cognitive deficits.

Yet evidence shows children who lack social and emotional competence experience a delay in the acquisition of fundamental academic skills (Barbarin et al., 2006).

In reality, when working with young children with ASD social skills may be a more difficult area for teaching due to many factors including deficits in verbal ability, cognitive ability, executive function, and theory of mind.

We will explore social skill areas that have been studied and determined important for active intervention due to their relation to successful outcomes such as:

Joint attention
Socially engaged imitation
Affect sharing
Working memory
Rule-guided acts
Symbolic play
Social communication
Reciprocal social interaction
During the discussion, we will review intervention strategies used to increase social competence, eight primary behavior categories targeted by the social intervention, and identify ways to begin social competence training with children in the beginning stages of treatment and communication ability.

We will close with a discussion around the complexities of the theory of mind and executive functions, specific literature findings that debate its explanatory theory related to the autism disorder, specific tasks that are shown to improve executive function skills in preschoolers, and finally, how early deficits in executive function predicted later problem behaviors for students across multiple disruptive behavior disorders.


Upon completion of Toddler to Preschool Social Skills: Predictors of future success participants will:

  1. Identify important social skills to assess for and treat with this age group
  2. Understand strategies and specific tasks that may be implemented to increase social competence
  3. Increase understanding of executive function definition and tasks related to building executive function skills
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