Improving Social Awareness Through Games

Social awareness is an important piece of social skills. It involves discriminating and understanding social cues. For example, recognizing social communication signals, identifying preferences and non-preferences of others, being aware of others’ emotions etc. It functions as a prerequisite for other social skills. A person needs to be aware of and understand what is going on in his/her environment in order for him/her to respond correspondingly. Moreover, it increases naturalistic learning opportunities. If a student is more tuned in to his/her social environment, it is more likely that he/she can pick up something new, whether social or other skills, without our directions, which in turn facilitates self-learning.

Undoubtedly, people learn better when teaching is fun and meaningful. Below are some game ideas that can promote social awareness for young children with ASD.

Imitation Game

This game requires players to take turn to imitate each other. The person who is copied by others (the leader) can follow visual or vocal instructions to perform or make different actions/expressions/sounds/phrases. For players who are more capable, they can come up with their own ideas as well. If players are able to copy multiple actions, each segment can involve more than one action and the leader needs to switch actions based on the response of the other players.

Treasure Hunt (Silence Version)

There are two players in this game. One is responsible to find hidden treasure while the other one gives non-vocal signals e.g., nod, thumb up, head shaking, and crossing arms in the air etc. to indicate the accuracy of the other player’s direction and location. Non-vocal signals are better than vocal ones because they require the players to check in with each other constantly, by which enhance their social awareness.

 

Delivery Game

This game is quite self-explanatory. The ‘delivery person’ needs to bring various items to different persons based on an order list. The list can be presented in words or pictures, depending on the skill level of the player. An alternative version of this game requires the ‘delivery person’ to take orders from ‘customers’, either in written or pictorial format prior to delivery. To further increase difficulty level of this game, the ‘customers’ can be scattered in different places so that the ‘delivery person’ needs to put more effort in locating them.

Kiddy Charade

Typically, Charade involves a player drawing a card from a deck, which may contain things such as movie name, action, name of celebrity etc., and acting out those things without using words or sounds for others to guess what they are. To play this game with children with ASD, we often need to simplify the game by presenting the context in picture or simple writing, and selecting items that can be acted out easily, for example animals and daily actions.

The above games are by no means any kinds of remedy for social awareness and there is no fixed way to teach social skills. However, if we are just a little more creative, learning experience can be more successful and enjoyable for both ourselves and the students as well.

Information provided by Autism Partnership

Autism Partnership (AP) is one of the most established Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) service providers for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in the world. Formed in 1994 in the United States, AP is run by professional clinicians and specializes in providing one-on-one therapy, group interventions and overseas consultation for children with ASD and their families.

「社交意識」是社交技巧中十分重要的一部分,它包括分別和理解社交線索,例如識別出社交溝通訊號、了解別人的喜惡和意識到別人的情緒等等。「社交意識」是學習其他社交技巧的重要元素。一個人要能夠意識並理解他周圍環境中發生的事情之後,才能做出相應的回應。不僅如此,它還能提高學生在自然環境學習的機會。如果學生能更瞭解他的社交環境,即使沒有我們的指導,也更有可能自行學會新知識(無論是社交或者是其他技巧),從而促進他們自學的能力。

毫無疑問,有趣和有意義的學習過程能提升學習效果。以下的遊戲有助提高自閉症兒童的社交意識,希望可以給大家作為一點參考。

模仿遊戲

這個遊戲需要參與者輪流互相模仿。被模仿者(領袖)可以透過視覺或聽覺的提示來做出不同的動作/表情/聲音或說出不同的語句來讓其他玩家模仿他。能力較高的參與者亦可以根據自己的想法來設計動作。如果玩家能夠連續地模仿多個動作,那麼每一個環節便可以有多個動作牽涉其中,而領袖也需根據其他參與者的反應去改變動作。

尋寶遊戲(沉默版)

這個遊戲需要兩名參與者,一人負責尋找被藏起的寶藏,另一人則負責發出非說話的訊號,例如點頭、豎起拇指、搖頭或舉起雙手做出交叉的手勢來示意另一名參與者的方向及位置是否準確。非說話的訊號需要參與者持續地互相關注,這能提高他們的社交意識,因此非說話比說話的訊號更加理想

「送貨」遊戲

不用多說,相信大家也猜到如何玩這個遊戲。「送遞員」需要根據訂單來發送貨物給予不同的「客戶」。訂單可以用文字或圖畫的方式來呈現,視乎參與者的需要。這遊戲的另一個版本要求「送遞員」在派送之前從「客戶」那裡獲得訂單的資料,然後設計書面或圖畫形式的訂單。為了進一步提高遊戲的難度,「客戶」可以分散在各個不同的地方,這就需要「送遞員」花更多的精力來找他們。

比手畫腳

一般來說,這個遊戲需要一名參與者從一副牌中抽出一張,而卡片上可能會有電影名稱、動作或名人的名字等等,然後在不使用說話或發聲的情況下表演出來,讓其他人去猜卡片的內容是甚麼。和自閉症兒童一起玩這個遊戲時,我們可能要簡化遊戲,例如用簡單的文字或圖畫來顯示卡片內容,或挑選能夠輕易表現出來的項目,譬如動物或日常動作來令到他們更輕易地掌握遊戲。

上述的遊戲並不是改善社交意識的靈丹妙藥,而且社交技巧是可以用不同的形式和方法來教。可是,假如我們有多一點的創意,我們在改善學生的「社交意識」之餘,也能讓各人享受到愉快和順利的學習過程。


資訊由Autism Partnership提供

Autism Partnership (AP)於1994年在美國成立,是全球最具規模為自閉症患者提供『應用行為分析』(ABA) 治療的專業機構。AP是由多位專業臨床心理學家、應用行為分析治療顧問及治療師管理,為患有自閉症譜系障礙(ASD)的兒童及其家庭提供一對一治療、行為干預小組訓練及海外諮詢服務。


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