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How to Improve Social Skills in your Child with ABA

Updated: Jul 14, 2021

The Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) approach and its theories can be used to help special needs children reduce difficult behavior, anger and depression. ABA is based on rewards and consequences which are based on behaviorist theories. It’s an approach to understand and change behavior. ABA is known as standard treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder or other developmental conditions.

ABA can improve a child’s social skills and interactions.

Autistic children face difficulty with social interactions and communication which sometimes lead to strong or difficult emotions i.e anger, frustration or it could be anxiety. ABA is a golden hand for children to make their path in the right direction.

A happy and harmonious life is important for children and others. Good social skills will be needed in a variety of situations. ABA can improve several important social skills like sharing, taking turns and waiting.

Taking turns

Taking turns is a skill that plays a vital role in social success. Children may struggle with the concept of taking turns. This may not be a skill a child develops on their own. Taking turns involves patience, impulse control, and appropriate social interaction. The difficulties while playing, taking turns and sharing toys can be frustrating, but with proper practice and time change will happen. Patience is key.


  1. Teach Cooperation- This will encourage them to let other people contribute. Try the “talking stick,” whoever has the stick is allowed to talk and share their ideas. This way, together and cooperatively people can work together.

  2. Use the Right Language- Examples are “my turn” and “your turn”

  3. Model Turn Taking- Be an example, or get another child so demonstrate.

  4. Use a Timer- Make it fair. Each child gets a certain amount of time.


Children are naturally impatient. Waiting is an essential life skill that can be difficult to learn. Particularly, a child with autism can be difficult to grasp on. This should never be discouraging but encourage patience and understanding. The reason behind undesirable behaviors occurs when a child is asked to wait a few moments before he or she will get the desired objective. Children must learn to wait because adults have to wait. As a child grows they will always have to wait so that is why it is an important social skill.


  1. Break Time- Have designated “break” times. Teach them the definition of a “break” before whatever they are excited about will come after.

  2. Increasing Waiting Times- Start somewhere and gradually increase wait times. You want to set them up for success.

  3. Saving Up- Have your child save their money for something that they want. This teaches money management, patience, and hard work. They will feel so accomplished when they finally get what they’ve been saving for.

  4. Make it Fun- Kids love fun. Adults do too. You could be waiting in line at the grocery store but thinking about what meal you’re going to make with all the groceries you just bought. Teach them to make the best of the situations they’re in.

  5. Model Waiting- Be an example of someone who is patient. Let them see you waiting in a line or let them see you let someone go ahead of you.

Another way to help your child learn these social skills is to hire an ABA specialist. Our goal is positive behavior change. We are here to help you and answer any questions you have. Email us at

Thanks for reading! Until next time!

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