But we all, kid or adult, need good social skills to get along with others, and everyone needs to have supportive relationships. That requires a lot more than the basics taught in children’s social skills classes. So how can adults on the spectrum improve their social skills?
Sometimes, adults are lucky enough to find a support group where they can interact with others who might be willing to practice some skills, give honest feedback, or even just be patient with those whose social skills might be a bit off. If you’re lucky enough to live near one of these groups they can be a great source of both support and a learning environment. Other adults find a partner or close family member who can help with interpreting the more precise situations. For many adults on the spectrum, a parent, sibling, or partner really functions as a social skills coach. (For an example of this, read Mozart and the Whale, reviewed in a previous post, where a married couple, both with Asperger’s, demonstrate how they use their relationship to improve their skills. Each learns to pay attention to the other’s signals, manage their tempers and respect each other’s boundaries throughout the course of their relationship.)