Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)/Aspergers "Lite" social skills help


New Member
Just had parent teacher conference on pc5yo and apparently she not really doing much interactive play with the other students....mostly parallel play. Is apparently interacting with the adults more than the kids (not a shock there, I'm afraid she inherited that trait from her momma :rolleyes: which I believe is an Aspie trait of sorts)

And I got a hoot out of this, she has been little Miss Hedda Hopper in class; wanting to know what everyone is up to- if they go somewhere outside of the classroom or anything out of the usual, she wants to know about it.

Does anyone have any info on models or ideas on how to incorporate social skills into the classroom? And website links would be greatly appreciated.

Also need some sensory input too. Apparently easy child has a need to stimulant in class. Used to be humming, but using peer influence she has curtailed that quite a bit. But still has the need to keep her body moving in space and time, either feel something or move something.

They have been using a trampoline in between some class time which seems to help, but I think she needs something more long term (throughout the day)

We're trying to find something that she would enjoy the touch of in class and at the same time, keep her focused on that one thing so she can continue with the lesson at hand. Squeeze balls or something similar. She apparently likes the feel of the pencil grip guards (the neoprene-like kind)Anyone found anything that works?

I'm going into class to observe and offer input in time for her iep in about a month, so any advice of what was tried and true (or failed) would be helpful.

Thanks in advance


New Member
Wish I had advice, but I'm in the same boat. My difficult child tends to be the boss instead of really playing with the other kids...And once shocked a teacher who put him in time out in first grade. He proceeded to roll around on the floor in the time out area for 10 minutes after he was told to go back to his seat. I'll keep an eye for replies.


In the in district Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) program I observed last week- which is the highest functioning non-mainstream Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids- every one of them had to be constantly reminded about "quiet hands". So I think the hand movement is pretty typical.

Have you tried something in terms of clothes for sensory input? Obviously the weighted vest is an option. But how about a tight hat on her head all day? Maybe even something tight resembling an old fashioned girdle?

Believe me you don't want to know what my Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) son's school is now calling social skills lessons- the more I think about it the more I know I have to get him out of there! LOL Now that I said that I have to tell you..LOL They're taking any activity- anything from planting seeds to arts and crafts and turning it into what they call social skills. eg they take the seeds, dirt, foam cups, and water and give each kid one thing. They have each kid then ask the other kid for each item. I'll try to dig up one and copy it onto the board.

I talked to my son's teacher last year about relay races and team games. eg break the kids into groups of 2 or 3 and do anything but have the teams compete against each other. could be math or science project. But they have to look at each other, communicate and work together. Has the same feeling of parallel work as each team is doing the same task. But working with another child requires some social interaction and consideration of the fact that the other child is there.

will see what I can dig up.

you did see this on the other post- right?


Active Member
difficult child has always had a variety of sensory items available for his hands. He has used the pencil grips, Koosh balls, erasers, hard balls that you buy at a Sporting Goods store to build hand strength, (feels like a balloon filled with sand). You can fill an un-inflated balloon with a variety of items and see what your daughter likes best, try flour, corn kernels, sand, etc.

When difficult child needed a break, the teacher would send him to deliver a note to the office. Also had him carry books or other heavy items to burn off steam. Get the school to include Occupational Therapist (OT) and have the Occupational Therapist (OT) help the teachers with ideas. Our Occupational Therapist (OT) taught my son a lot of exercises like pushing himself straight out of his chair with his hands. There are a bunch of things a kid can do that others won't even notice.

Carol Gray's social stories are great for schools to use,

We had IEP goals for social skills like:

Will initiate age appropriate conversations with peers.

Will maintain a topic of conversations with a peer for 3 turns.

Will exit a conversation appropriately.

Will maintain appropriate eye contact and ask questions to clarify if he does not understand.

Will use a slow rate of speech in one to one situation and in group situations.

Will appropriately explain a problem situation when presented with a picture and/or real life experience.

Given social scenarios, will be able to identify another person’s feelings and motivations independently.

Will be able to identify his own feelings and emotions.

You get the idea. My son worked with the Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) on pragmatics and was in a social skills group with her. difficult child was in a second social skills group with the SW. He was also given help at unstructured times of the day like lunch and recess.

There is so much a school can do to help out our kids socially. I would recommend that you get the dr that diagnosis'ed your daughter to do a school observation and attend the IEP meeting bringing his/her own IEP goals. The schools tend to listen to the professionals more than the parents. All types of classroom modifications were made after our observation, (SD payed for it).

Good Luck.



Active Member
The Occupational Therapist (OT) put a strip of foam under my son's seat for him to handle. It's a little stiffer than typical foam rubber so it gives more input. It has about the same feel as the pencil grips so that might be helpful. They also make foam balls.

Some other things to try: therapy clay, gel balls, an inflated disk to sit on, weights on the top of pencils, a weighted lap pad.

My son's private Occupational Therapist (OT)'s mom is a first grade teacher and she gives the whole class sensory breaks a few times a day. It helps them all and doesn't single out the special child. Isn't that cool?

If you request catalogues from Southpaw and Abilitations they will send them. They're great to look through for ideas.


SRL reminded me of the stool they're using for my Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kid now. It's got one leg so he has to constantly balance himself whenever he's seated. the purpose was to make him more focused. Sort of the next step after the seat cushion SRL refers to. FYI the version of seat cushion I recall had a nubby texture as well as being somewhat squishy.


Active Member
difficult child's teacher passes out sugarless chewing gum to kids when they get antsy. Even chewing helps our kids.

I love all the different ideas difficult child's school uses to help Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids. They have really mastered the art of thinking outside the box. Imagine a teacher passing out gum! It never would happen in our public school.



Elise, my difficult child has an oral thing- since he wouldn't give up the pacifier when he went to kindergarten. It was pens, paper clips and everthing else in the mouth till he got in the hospital. When we did the state behavioral school IEP I brought it up and they let him chew on straws.

Did you look at the articles/ links Fran has under social skills?


could you be more specific about the behaviors/ attitude... missing from the social skills. in my humble opinion we're never going to ingrain in them something that's not there. But we can teach them cognitively to behave in a way that is adverse to their natural inclination. So if she just doesn't enjoy other people she's not likely to as an adult. But maybe teaching her that sharing joys and sorrows is something she enjoys can be done. She may never seek out people but she may seek out a partner to share life with. What I'm saying is that parallel vs cooperative play may be natural to her. And that's not a bad thing necessarily. Arguably it's developmental and she's developmentally delayed. So arguably she'll grow out of it anyway. But if there's something that you can specifically point to maybe it's easier to find a lesson for her. Is it inability to share, not understanding non-verbal cues, not understanding thought patterns of peers, not understanding imaginative play of peers,... ?


New Member
One thing they have done in our SD and I have seen it mostly for AS kids is the "circle of friends." They pick a few other kids, most of whom also have at least one issue, and make them into a group. They do group projects in class together, etc. For the AS kid, it models HOW NT's function in a group and at play. My daughter's grade 4 class had one. She volunteered for it, but was not accepted - not enough issues! The PTA president's bully son was put in the group, my daughter's friend who was so shy she could barely say her own name was put in there and a couple of other kids. It benefitted all of them. I am also in NY so that it may be a state thing.

There was also a social skills group that my oldest boy had in elemenentary school. They took several boys who had issues and once or twice a week they would eat lunch with the school psychiatric and talk about "stuff."

I also gravitated towards adults as a kid, as does my oldest boy. I don't think it's necessarily an AS thing, as I am so totally NOT on the spectrum (it's too bad, right at this point in my life, I would love to have the ability to say what's on my mind without any social controls coming up!). It might just mean that your daughter's "peers" are not intellectually challenging enough for her.



New Member
Hi guys, thanks! /importthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

I'm not totally convinced that she is lacking social skills if drawn into the conversation, but she definitely does not initiate play with others as a rule.

I'm having a bit of a tizzy with her teacher who does not believe in medications, and has said so, and has said things like easy child is immature for her age (without any specifics- which makes me think she's talking about parallel play instead of interactive because easy child is definitely not immature ) and that easy child has "the ability to do the work if she wanted to" :rolleyes: - doesn't really believe in adhd and is completely anti-medications no matter what the scenario :mad:

For now, I'm just smiling politely like an idiot at the teacher who's clueless about Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)/Aspergers and waiting to get the PhD who initially evaluation'd her to come to the school and observe her further. God bless the Special Education coordinator who knows that I know my stuff.

I'm also going to have a sensory evaluation done and see what parts of the puzzle can be ameliorated through Occupational Therapist (OT) and squishy things to feel :wink:

I am so sick of clueless educators who voice an opinion on something they have no conceptual knowledge about. Arggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!

Thanks so much for your input.


Roll With It
If these teachers have so many opinions about medsa nd what is "right" for "all" our kids such as no medications in any case ever, how come htey are never there to proveide respite care when we are frazzled to the bone or need help over summer break?? I thing they should have to come home with us and babysit for weekends and holidays and see what a "medication holiday" as they used to prescribe for kids (a period with-o medications) is like.

Then lets see what their o so educated opinions are. I think it will be along the lines of valium in a room spray!!!


ps. Teachers with this attitude annoy me as much as the ones who think all kids should be on ritalin!