Judah Axe – Improving Social Skills by Teaching Problem Solving


Title: “Improving Social Skills by Teaching Problem Solving”
Children with autism struggle with social skills. The social world is full of “problems,” defined
as situations in which a response is in the child’s repertoire but is not immediately evoked. For
example, a child may be able to initiate conversations, but in a crowded social situation, it is
difficult to know when to do so. Problem solving is arranging stimuli to increase the probability
of arriving at a solution. This might involve looking at each group of people and deciding if it is
an appropriate time to start a conversation. Talking about the past also presents problems and
problem solving as people often have to “think back” to what happened to arrive at a response.
We also solve many of our problems by “Googling it.” The presenter will describe these
phenomena and share studies on teaching problem solving to students with autism to improve
how they talk about past events and answer social questions about planning a trip, such as “how
far” and “what’s the weather?”


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