Destination: Friendship | Organization for Autism Research

Resource Spotlight

School is not only the place children go to learn math and reading, among other subjects, it’s also a place where they make friends, often friends whose friendship spans a lifetime. That ability to make friends is a struggle for many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), who find it difficult to master the necessary social skills. Children and parents alike who are struggling with this issue have plenty of resources to turn to. Here are a few we have found that you may find helpful:


“The Hidden Curriculum and Other Everyday Challenges for Elementary-Age Children with High-Functioning Autism” 

Written by Hayley Morgan Myles and Annellise Kolar in 2013, this addition to the Hidden Curriculum series takes readers through how to handle seemingly everyday incidences that prove to be difficult for children with ASD. With insight on topics ranging from making friends with peers to participating in activities, the book strives to include all of the social rules to help children with autism thrive. With easy-to-understand language and plentiful advice, “The Hidden Curriculum” is a great resource to accompany the newfound independence of elementary school.


“Destination Friendship”

Mary Benton, M.Ed., BCBA, Carol Hollis, M.Ed., BCBA, Kelly Mahler, MS, OTR/L, and Alice Womer, MS, CCC-SLP, use “Destination Friendship,” published in 2013, to give advice to children with ASD on how to develop and advance their social skills. The book incorporates research-based strategies and adult tour guides as tools to instill social skills to practice in everyday life. At 250 pages of heavy technical reading, this resource is more directed towards parents, who can then pass on the information in the best way possible to their children.


“Staying in the Game”

What makes this book by James W. Loomis, Ph.D., different from others on the topic of social skills is the emphasis on generalization, or going past inclusion. The generalization of social skills is one of the most significant difficulties for people with ASD; this book serves as a resource for those looking to overcome this obstacle. With tips and tricks that are just as easy to apply as they are to read, “Staying in the Game,” published in 2008, is an ideal resource for parents of children and young adults on the spectrum.


“The Asperkid’s (Secret) Book of Social Rules: The Handbook of Not-So-Obvious Social Guidelines for Tweens and Teens with Asperger Syndrome”

Jennifer Cook O’Toole’s Asperkid series is in a league of its own. She is a woman with Asperger syndrome married to someone with Asperger syndrome and mother of three children with ASD. Not surprisingly, her books come at self-advocacy and parenting in the way only an insider can. Directed toward children and young adults, this book, which was published in 2013, in the series is a perfect tool for those who want to understand how to improve their own social interactions. The fun illustrations go hand in hand with the easy-to-read counsel on socialization and social rules, made for and by a person with autism.


With resources like these books, as well as the many others out there waiting to be discovered, the path to understanding social dynamics and adapting social skills to everyday life can be made a little easier and a lot less stressful. Thanks to resources like these, the next step to independence is right around the corner.

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