My child needs to improve their social skills – but which ones do I start with first?

My child needs to improve their social skills – but which ones do I start with first?

This is quite a common question in my practice and one I am keen to address today for you!

There really is a simple answer to this and it uses a step by step method that I often use with my own son, Jon and clients who I work with and their children. As social skills is really a generic term which covers a multitude of areas, using a simple sheet to mark out which skills your child excels in first is the best way to start the process.

In the following table, I have started off for you how a social skills monitor would look like for your child:

SOCIAL SITUATIONS WHICH THEY ARE GOOD AT                                                                   SOCIAL SITUATIONS WHICH NEED WORK

Talking to friends at school Talking to adults they don’t know so well (shop assistants, waiters, bus drivers etc)
Talking to teachers Listening to others when they talk (conversation)
Talking to family members Eye contact with talking to me (parents)
Reading someone’s emotions (happy, sad) Initiating play
Saying hello and goodbye (with or with prompting.) Sharing toys
Saying sorry Attending birthday parties
Following simple instructions at school from a teacher Asking others to join in with play

You might want to go a bit further in assessing on what level your child is on each column by using stickers (stars, ticks) to show the level of how well your child is doing for that area.

There is no hard and fast rule about which area takes priority over another. That needs to be down to you. I suggest the best thing to do is look at the barriers that may be holding your child back in an important area – school, for example and classroom situations. It would be more important to work on listening skills are school and more effective play, for example, than working on your child’s interaction at birthday parties.

Please do let me know how you get on and if you have any worries or questions you would like to ask. I would love to hear from you! Just use the form below and let me know what you would like to know!

ThHow to turn your child's autism around and save moneyanks for reading!!

Michelle Hatcher

Consultant CBT Therapist


Enrol on the UNLEASH THE POSITIVE MIND FREE E-COURSE ON UDEMY TODAY and change your child’s future with Michelle’s award winning new E-Course.




What Would You Change About Your Child’s Autism?

Michelle Hatcher Media

Books books and more books telling you have to be a parent, well you know that anyway!

How to turn your child's autism around and save moneyThere have been hundreds of books written about Autism. Some by professionals, others by parents, but there is never a truer word ever spoken by someone who is both.

Michelle Hatcher, CBT Therapist, NLP Practitioner and certified Life Coach is also a mother to Jon, her almost 16 year old son.  Diagnosed with Autism at the age of 10, he went on to develop pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome and severe Scoliosis. If that wasn’t enough for mother and son to cope with, there was also single parenting, domestic abuse, unemployment and homelessness to deal with it.

This extraordinary journey reflects on the last 15 years in frank brutality; the woes of a parent faced with countless adversaries naturally questions her skills and life. The second half of the book is the miraculous turn around of fortunes in every way for the pair. Not only does Michelle find the paths to success but Jon overcomes every single knock back and affirmation once held against him.

The boy who was once told would never attend mainstream school, speak, walk, socialise and live independently, turned each of these on its head and beat the system.





What this book can do for YOU right now…

Read about how YOU can turn your child’s autism around and give both yourself and your child back the life you always dreamed of.

No hocus pocus, no financial cost, just simple plain talking and a lot of perfectly effective methods you can apply today.

Get results right now and start saving the hundreds of thousands you would need in care and support.


You looked forward to spending countless holidays with your family the day your children are born. The happiness you feel holding them for the first time is mind-blowing. Your heart is fit to burst of love for them. Suddenly, you start planning for them. All the hours you’re going to spend together, the time away, the sports, cycle rides, parties… the list goes on and on…

Then there is the concern. The panic that there might be something wrong. She doesn’t point at you when you walk in the room. He doesn’t seem to hear his name being called. You look into their eyes and it is almost as if you are looking straight through. There seems nothing there.

That first moment is like a cold cloak that surrounds you.  Your world has changed, but at first, you don’t know how much. That comes later….

Remember the dreams you had of this with your children?


family-pier-man-woman-39691-large (1)


Well, forget them. You will be lucky if you can afford to got on holiday in your own country, let alone anywhere else in the world warmer and happier.


Do you know how much it will cost you to support your child for life?

In the UK, it will cost you around £300,000. In the U.S, you can look at a price tag of around $450,000

That’s just for care and support services for your child, that’s not counting housing, food, clothing and so on.

And you can forget housing benefit. As it stands in the UK, a single person under the age of 25 won’t get a penny. YOU will have to fork for their housing, and oh yes, there is a waiting list for supporting living in the South as this is where you will find the most of it…. so you will have to wait.

That means your child could be living with your for the rest of your life.

And you will be the unpaid carer, until you die of course, then they are likely to become homeless, be victims of crime, blackmail and so on.

So you’re more likely to spend the rest of your life looking rather like this…

pexels-photo-66757-large (1)


Yes, that looks more familiar.

Good huh?

So while your friends are enjoying their perfect families watching their children grow, go to university, get degrees, good jobs and get married to equally perfect partners, you can look forward to your child growing up into a person who will be in and out of clinics, hospital waiting rooms, psychiatric wards suffering with depression as well as a long list of other ailments, with no future, no life, no hope and no one to look after them after you have gone.

Whooppeee… not!

So what would you change if you could?

Of course, there are some wonderful elements to Autism.  There is that wicked sense of humour. The cuddles, the wise things they suddenly come out with at times of despair. They are unique. Stunning people in this black and white world, but that won’t keep them alive, will it?

I bet you’re thinking there is not hope for your child. That you will just continue to struggle on regardless until something happens like a Lottery win perhaps, yeah right, like that’s really going to happen.

But there IS something you can do for them.

What if you child could talk, attend mainstream school, have friends, do stuff, have a happy life, yes, and even be happy with themselves, wouldn’t you want that for them?

Seeing your child wailing in despair over a broken toy is heart breaking. Any other kid would just get on with life, but yours simply can’t. The despair they cry is not some over bloated attempt to get you to give in to them. What they feel is real and it is a 1000 times worse than you and me. This is why people with conditions like Autism are more likely to die up to 20 years before their peers and mostly from suicide triggered by depression.

This CAN be helped, but it is down to YOU as a parent. The State won’t fix it for you. Ever.

Michelle Hatcher on holiday with Jon

Today, you can teach your child to change the way they think, and in turn change the way they feel. This will mean your child can have a NORMAL life AND get to keep the best bits of their Autism too.

We’re not talk brain transplants here, just a few simple techniques that can catapult them into the life you and they have always wanted and this will save you THOUSANDS OF POUNDS!!!


So take a dive into this incredible true story and learn the key strategies which helped this boy on to the road to success (passing four GCSE’s at the age of 14…. not bad eh?) Oh yes, and by the way, this is me and Jon in the picture here…

Remember, YOUR child’s future is in YOUR hands. Take action and learn today the methods I used with my son which got INSTANT results!

You owe it to your child, you and your future.

Read it NOW and start thinking of that beach holiday again!


I am delighted to tell you that my course UNLEASH THE POSITIVE MIND has been awarded 4.5 stars on Udemy by its hundreds of already enrolled students!


Thank you! 4-5-stars

Just click on the image to start making REAL practical progress with your child today!








When Shops Fail Customers With Autism


Yesterday, I went to a well-known computer shop to pick up my son’s laptop after it had been away for a week being repaired. Sending emails over the period of the laptop being away, I was determined to make sure that the hundreds of pictures, strategies and projects Jon had been working on were safely backed up. After all, we had taken out a care policy to ensure that if anything went wrong, all of Jon’s things were safe.

Jon loves his gaming. He makes friends all over the world (a part of building his social skills, he finds this the best way to find friends.) He plays team games for hours on end and they discuss lots of things like life, music, films and hobbies.

I have always been smart when it comes to dealing with companies and shops. Every time something has had to go back either for repair or a refund, I have carefully kept letters, conversations, names of people I have spoken to and so on, just in case. This was another one of those times when I was glad I had stored up all my correspondence.

Jon readily and willingly trusts everyone. I am cautious.

The shop in question had wiped Jon’s computer clean, despite my correspondence making sure that it wouldn’t happen.

Now, of course I have complained formally and the case is now being looking over by the company, so as far as my neuro-typical brain is concerned, that’s job done and very little else I could do.

For Jon, it was a catastrophe. Two and a half years of hundreds of pictures of games, projects, things he had made, contacts, all gone.

Driving home to break the news to Jon was something I was dreading. I knew it would be bad. I knew there would be a meltdown and it would against me. Jon doesn’t understand that these things happen and no matter how careful you might be in life, there will always be people who will make mistakes and let you down. It’s a fact of life. For Jon, it means war.

The Meltdown

The meltdown which ensued was pretty violent. Things were thrown, smashed up, it took about an hour of me trying to calm him down to a point where I could talk to him rationally. I had things thrown at me, books ripped up, a bedroom trashed. Jon shouted out all sorts of nasty things, swearing and cursing until he was quite blue in the face. By the evening, I had managed to get him to start laughing at a book I was showing him. I took his mind off the world which as far as he was concerned, had crashed down around him.  He went to bed calm and in a better frame of mind. By 2am, he was crying, wailing and sitting in the middle of his bedroom floor with his bed-things thrown across the room. Wide awake and crying.

I soothe him with a story and a cuddle and the night is returned to its peaceful slumber once more.

So what is the point of this rant this morning? An autistic boy doesn’t understand what had happened to his laptop, so?

I shall tell you why.

Companies are failing. Not just us anyway by not doing things right, but they are failing another part of society. They fail to realise the impact that such a ‘minor’ mistake, as far as they’re concerned, has on someone with special needs.

A person with Autism feels every bump in the road of life 1000 times more than anyone else. They don’t have the capacity to understand that bad things happen. All they see is the world they love turning its back on them, casting them into a dark pit of nothingness. The world is failing to care and so therefore it should be destroyed in some way, and made to feel as bad as they do. Jon sees every hiccup as a personal vendetta against him.

What I would like companies, shops and other organisations to do is stop and think about the impact that their carelessness might have on the customer.  I don’t like to play the ‘Autism card’ when it comes to complaining to people like this computer shop as I feel that doesn’t work, but more to the point, they are not really bothered about who is on the receiving end of their mistake. However, I do think their management teams need to consider the impact of their actions on the section of society who struggle with life as it is anyway, let alone other people’s failings.

1 in a 100 children in the UK are on the spectrum. That’s a lot of future customers.

So all I am asking shops to do is just stop and think the next time you think to yourself, ‘can I be bothered to do this properly?’

The answer is, yes, you can, because you might be stepping on someone’s world if you don’t.

Keep safe and happy everyone.


The Amazon best seller everyone is talking about!Like this post? Then you might want to sign up to our emailing list and get discounts on events, books on parenting autism and lots more.  Sign up today and get a special 60% discount off my latest book HOW TO TURN YOUR CHILD’S AUTISM AROUND AND SAVE MONEY


6 Ideas For A Stress Free Morning Back To School

As the summer now draws to a close, the thought of getting your ASD child up the morning they go back to school, can be Hellish. Over the last five weeks, you’ve dealt with late nights, late mornings and all sorts of mood swings, no matter what age they are or where they are on the spectrum. Now for you, the idea of getting them back into a routine is a nightmare in itself.

So for those of you who are dreading the morning of school (and for my autistic son, Jon, that’s this Friday) here are a few tips to get your child perfectly bright-eyed and ship-shape for the beginning of the new school year…

  1. Early to bed, early to rise: The night before is usually when everything kicks off. Not only is your child unwilling to go to bed but there will be a zillion questions and affirmations required from them  about what’s going to happen the following day. Of course, you’re not Buddha and all you can do is answer them as best you can. If you can get them to bed at a reasonable time that evening, then you are half way to cracking the Autism code. Just keep in mind they will need to start winding down a good three hours before bedtime to avoid making plans and visits to anywhere or anyone from lunchtime onwards.
  2. The key to an early bedtime is to wear them out with a busy day the day before: That might be easier said than done for some children, but a lot of fresh air, even a drive around in the car with the window down can help a child feel tired easily after dinnertime. Indulge in their favourite games in the afternoon, this will not only make them tired ready for bed at the right time but will keep their mind distracted from school.
  3. Warm drinks for calming down: Warm milk or some luke warm herbal tea works well to soothe an anxiety or stress. Try Camomile cooled down with perhaps half a teaspoonful of honey. This soothes the tummy and relaxes the stress levels (for both you and your child!) Avoid hot chocolate or anything that has a high sugar content (other than honey as this is a natural sweetener.) Malted drinks are good too but warm milk is best. Avoid laptop games and anything that will excite them visually. Story books with a lot of pictures in, are still handy in my house even though Jon is over 15 years old on occasions he can’t get to sleep.
  4. Thinking games: I have used these types of word games for Jon in the past and they have worked brilliantly. Make yourselves comfortable with your child tucked up in bed and start a game of guessing colours of an object such as fruit, transport or anything your child is into. They don’t have to be colours, they can be types of things such as trains, hats, buses, even uniforms! Anything that allows their mind to think about something other than school. You can use any sorts of guessing games. I Spy tends to get boring so I tend to avoid that one!
  5. Anything but the telly: It is easy to be tempted into putting on the box and letting them watch their favourite programme, but although this might give you a few minutes breathing time, it wont help your child to go to sleep. Children have the habit of sitting too close to the tv, straining their eyes and keeping their mind active causing it to remember images and sounds. This is likely to keep them awake, especially if your child is sensitive. Jon would get very upset if he watched an advert with a toy or an animal in it. Then he would be so distressed that it would keep him from settling down and going to sleep. My intervention here would be to make him laugh, so I would take a couple of his own cuddly toys and start a conversation between them. This not only gives your child some social skills practise but distracts them enough to associate then a toy as a happy thing, rather than a sad one.
  6. Waking up!: There is a rule of thumb that goes in our house for Jon when I need to get him up for school. It goes rather on the initial reading I take of his mood. Sometimes, he can be very cheerful and I will keep this level of cheerfulness from the word go. I allow him to take the lead in the mornings as I find this is the only way to get him ready. I adopt his mood and reflect it as I get his ready for school. That way he doesn’t have time to complain. If he is in a bad mood, I will ask him what he wants help with. If I am greeted by a groan of ‘nothing’ then I leave him to it, reminding him every so often what the time is. Avoid arguments and shouting. This will only mean that you end up shouting at each other and nothing will get done. If there is a sullen mood surrounding your child, then keep talking to a minimum. Sometimes, children might not want to talk at all, and this is fine. Go along with it. Don’t feel your child has got to be the same every day. They won’t be, and never take any aggravation from your child personally. His mood is not your fault. Ever.

Good luck for your mornings back to school!

Did you like this post? Sign up to our email club and get more posts like this plus discounts on parenting books, events and much more!

I would never in a million years share your data with anyone 🙂

You can still get HOW TO TURN YOUR CHILD’S AUTISM AROUND AND SAVE MONEY for only £2.29 on!!  Click on the image to start reading your copy now!

how to get your child up to speed on communication skills