This week’s skill: Asking for help

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This week’s skill: Asking for help
Young children with social skills difficulties often have trouble with asking for help, from parents, teachers, and peers. Some children do not know how to ask. Others are embarrassed at the attention they receive, while others think that asking for help = ‘being dumb’.
The results of not being able to ask for help include:

  • Acting out as a means of gaining attention

  • Falling behind in schoolwork

  • Not understanding schoolwork

  • Escalating frustration

  • Not having needs met;

All of which can eventually result in significant levels of anxiety and stress. Asking for help, while seemingly a simple skill, is an essential one for your student to develop.

What your student learnt this week:

In this week’s session we identified some of the things that children might need to ask for help with at home and school:

  1. Schoolwork too hard

  2. Don’t understand what was said

  3. Hurt

  4. Can’t do up shoelaces

  5. Lost toy

  6. Can’t do homework

  7. Being teased

Next, we identified the steps to follow in asking for help

  1. THINK (I need help!)

  2. HAND UP

  3. ASK (use an asking phrase such as “Can you help me please?”)


  1. THINK (I need help!)

  2. GO (to an adult)

  3. ASK (use an asking phrase)

Supporting this skill at school

  • Identify some of your student’s ‘difficult’ behaviours that may be inappropriate attempts to get help;

e.g. crying, hitting, poking, task refusal.

  • Use visual supports in the classroom to help your student remember to use their new skills to ‘ask for help’ in these situations

  • When your student appears to need help but does not ask for it (give them enough time to try again, but not so much that they become too frustrated) prompt them visually/verbally to ask for help

e.g. “That looks hard. Maybe you could practice asking for help”

  • If necessary, set up a simple reward system to provide extra positive reinforcement for your student when they try to ask for help appropriately.

© Copyright 2008 Educational Outreach Autism Spectrum Australia.

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