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April is Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month and with a growing population of students on the spectrum, it is a perfect time to work on a social skill that may be difficult for our students. This is also a great skill to practice if you are stuck on lockdown; your child can practice in the safety of your home and you can make smiling a game. The truth is: in these trying times, smiling can be good for all of us.

Autism and Social Skills

Becoming Likeable is one of the workbooks in the Daily Living Skills series and discusses what makes people likeable and unlikeable. It then gives students ten keys to becoming likeable. The keys are created so that each skill can be learned—they take no special talent or inborn “likeability.”

A modeling video is available for each key both on Teachers Pay Teachers ( or on my Youtube channel at: Susan Traugh.

But you can download the most obvious key—“Smile”—from this newsletter to help your students practice this key way to become likeable.

Did you know that humans are hard-wired to smile back at a smiling person? In fact, it only takes 4/100’s of a second to coax the other guy to smile back at you. Additionally, research tells us that if a person makes us smile we automatically feel good about that person. By learning to make people smile, students on the spectrum can take a giant step toward making themselves likeable.

Practice Social Skills

In this activity students practice smiling at themselves in the mirror then use that smile in five different situations until greeting others with a smile becomes second nature.

Have students complete the first two pages to understand the concepts and have them do #1 of the Simple Six to practice their smile in the mirror at home.

Over the rest of the week, choose one of the Simple Six to practice smiling and have students record their efforts on the Simple Six Graph. Allow students to share the most interesting encounters they had with people while smiling.


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