Perspective taking is considering the possible different viewpoints of individuals during social interactions, events and situations. It is important for all children/teenagers to understand that there can be social presentation differences between individuals. For example, neurotypical people often like to make eye-contact when communicating with others. In contrast, making eye-contact may make some neurodivergent people uncomfortable and they may prefer to look elsewhere during social interactions.
Perspective Taking is an crucial skill for both neurotypical and neurodivergent individuals to learn for social interactions and building friendships/relationships. It encourages children/teenagers to explore and consider both their own perspective and the perspective of others in the social interaction.
Perspective Taking focuses on:
Supporting children/teenagers to communicate authentically.
Developing an understanding of social events and situations.
Developing an understanding of their own perception of social interactions.
Gaining insight into how others may perceive social situations.
Exploring their own motivations when communicating.
Exploring their own communication choices and how these may impact the social interaction.
Gaining insight into what may be motivating others.
Developing an understanding of how others may interpret their verbal and behavioral communication style.
Social stories can also be very helpful for developing perspective taking as they offer guidance on what to expect in social situations. However, they should be used in a confidence building manner which encourages children/teenagers to understand and enjoy the social situation while being their authentic selves. They should not be used to encourage masking or other anxiety producing behaviors.