Conversation Starters

  • Situation

    My child doesn’t seem to know how to make friends. He doesn’t know how to talk to other kids and only talks to them about the things he is interested in. How can I help him talk to others and make friends more easily?

  • Summary

    Try using conversation starters. This is a way to put your child at ease in social situations by planning and practicing conversations.

  • Definition

    Visual or auditory conversation starters with scripted questions and answers to use for practicing basic rules of social conversation. Many children have difficulty with the social skills needed to initiate and continue a reciprocal conversation with peers. This is a strategy designed to help children’s conversations by preparing and practicing in a less stressful social environment.

  • Quick Facts

    • Child's Age: 3-5, 6-10, 11-13, 14-17, 18+
    • Planning Effort: Moderate
    • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Pre-requisites


  • Process

    1. Find out what the other child’s interests are.

    2. Find out if they share any interests with your child also.

    3. Help your child identify topics to talk about with the peer. (They could be popular topics such as current music, favorite games, movies, etc.)

    4. Help develop a “script” with possible anticipated questions and answers that might come up in conversation.

    5. Practice the conversational script with your child prompting as needed.

    6. Role play alternating the roles.

    7. Fade prompts as your child begins to feel more comfortable.

    8. Start having your child initiate conversation in real life situations.

    9. Develop a file of conversation starters to be reviewed and rehearsed as needed. (These can be put on small cards, list several topics and can be arranged by person, age group and gender.)

  • Documents and Related Resources

    National Autism Resources (website)


    Social Skills Powerpoint Curriculum


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