Soft skills are a set of intangible qualities that can determine one’s character, their attitude towards life, and their development of personal relationships with others. Unlike hard skills that can be measured through standardized testing, there is no way to measure soft skills.
However, that doesn’t mean they go unnoticed. When it comes to the workplace, look at it like this: hard skills will get you in the door, but soft skills are the real qualities employers look for. That’s why it’s important for parents to learn how to improve soft skills in their autistic teen
Like hard skills, soft skills can be learned, practiced, and improved upon. This is especially important for individuals with autism, as soft skills are more difficult for them to grasp. They may be able to make sense of the most complicated math problems, but struggle when it comes to workplace etiquette.
In this article, we will go over some tips for how to improve soft skills, which will help ensure your child is ready for the social challenges of the workplace.
When communicating with others, a lot can be said through non-verbal communication. Show your child how to start interactions off on a positive note by teaching them about eye contact, tone of voice, body proximity, and gestures. It also helps to know how to detect sarcasm. It’s important for autistic teens to be given these communication cues expressively, while also being trained to read them from others in the workplace to get the full communication message
While communicating with your child, pay attention to where their eyes are looking. Remind them eye contact is important, and veering off in another direction can come off as rude. Making eye contact is the first step, the next step is to be an active listener.
The challenge of how to improve listening skills can be met with listening skills games. Try practicing with your child by quizzing them on things you talked about throughout the day. See how well they really listened to what you were saying. Have a reward system in place for getting all the answers right.
Since a workplace consists of people all working together to achieve similar goals, the ability to build relationships with other co-workers is key. Collaboration activities and teamwork activities can help improve these skills.
Interpersonal skills can be practiced early on. Encourage your child to arrange study groups with classmates to improve their teamwork abilities. Suggest collaborating with friends on a group activity, such as planning a graduation party.
The challenge of how to improve soft skills can also be met with one-on-one coaching. Create some example scenarios and try role playing so you can see how your child would behave in different social situations. This can include simple scenarios, such as greeting coworkers in the morning and making small talk during lunch, to more complicated interactions such as resolving conflicts.
How to Improve Soft Skills in the Workplace
One of the greatest social challenges your child may face is interacting with potential employers during a job interview. Again, soft skills for a job interview can be improved with one-on-one coaching. Practice with your child by role-playing job interviews.
Critique their responses honestly. This will give them the opportunity to learn another workplace soft skill— accepting feedback. Giving and receiving feedback is a part of day-to-day life in the workplace. The ability to accept feedback and learn from it is a valuable skill for any employee to have.
Self-directed behavior is also highly valued in the workplace. This involves understanding what is expected of them, taking initiative, going the extra mile, and finishing work without having to be reminded. This can also be practiced early on with time management activities. Try assigning tasks to your child for work that needs to be done around the house, along with deadlines for completing the tasks. Bonus points if they take initiative by going above and beyond the assignments.
By now you should have plenty of ideas for how to improve soft skills with your child. Believe it or not, another way they can receive soft skills training is through fun activities like computer games. We encourage you to introduce your son or daughter to Identifor’s unique selection of games, which can help improve soft skills such as problem-solving and creative thinking.