Social referencing and coregulating are difficult social skills for Asperger’s Disorder children and teens to learn. You can teach your child to socially reference by repeatedly prompting him to notice how the other person is behaving and feeling. Initially, you can be the eyes for your child and interpret for him: “Ken is making faces and gritting his teeth. He seems irritated that you won’t share the trucks with him.” As you see she is beginning to show signs of social referencing, you can replace your observation with a prompt: “Lindsey, can you tell how Connie is feeling right now since you keep talking and won’t let her talk too?” You will have to do social referencing of the mood, thought, behavior, and feelings of others throughout your son or daughter’s childhood and adolescent years.
Teaching coregulation can be done at the same time as social referencing. Your child will need to know what to do once you have helped him with the observation. Expect that for many years, you will have to be very specific and direct with him, much like you did when he was a toddler, telling him, “Brandon, you need to listen to Larry.”