1. Parents often have time in the car on the way to appointments, errands or school. This is a wonderful time to engage in conversation or social skills. Parents should try to have a list in mind of topics that are appropriate to talk to and expect a response in order for the person with autism/asperger to earn a reinforcer they enjoy. For example, if the child responds a certain number of times or makes a conversation for a certain period of time he might earn time on the phone to play games, social praise or stop for ice-cream!
2. Another excellent time to practice social skills is during meals. Once again parents should have topics or ideas ready. The criteria to receive the reinforcer should be expressed clearly. Then the parent can make it fun by going around the table and having each person say something or "tell a story". After they speak others are expected to respond in some way to the story. Finally, after everyone has a turn the people that participated are reinforced with something they enjoy such as desert, social praise, activities or games after the meal!
3. Another good time to practice social skills is when you meet people or pass someone. Parents should prompt the child to say hello to people you see in the elevator or hallway. They can practice saying "hello" and "how are you" to people that come to visit or at restaurants or stores. This should always be followed with praise, edible or an activity the person finds reinforcing. For example, at the grocery store the child might be allowed to purchase something he/she wants after having appropriate behavior while shopping and socializing with others you meet at the store.
4. Another excellent time to practice social skills either verbally or role-play is at night before going to sleep. The child might discuss different social situations, alternative appropriate social skills in those situations and even practice the situation. After the discussion lots of social praise, affection or a favorite toy might be given!
5. In general, parents should try to describe all events and their activities while completing errands or going to activities so that the child understands what is socially acceptable and imitates the parents behavior.
6. Another great place and time to practice soil skills is when a phone call is received. For example parents can have the child or adult practice manners on the phone and provide reinforcers for appropriate manners.
In general, social skills are important in every situation including work, relationships and leisure time activities and will determine how well they succeed in all these situations they encounter in their daily lives.