Teaching social skills to students with ASD is extremely important, and is beneficial not only for the student but for classmates as well. Classmates have been known to benefit from their experiences with students with ASD, developing a compassion for and an understanding of children with special needs. Their self-esteem is boosted by the positive role they take in helping a friend with autism learn.
Teachers can offer valuable support by providing specific social rules and facilitating and reinforcing positive social interactions. This can be done by posting specific social rules easily visible and understandable by all students, and reviewed periodically with the class. Teachers should recognize that a student with ASD may want to interact, but may not know how. Helping the student change topics of the conversation when necessary, rehearsing strategies for social interactions, and using classmates as peer models (e.g., video modeling of a desired social skill) are notable strategies, as well as providing “scripts” of what the student should do in particular social situations.