Social skills are especially difficult for teens on the autism spectrum, but many of these skills can be learned, and with practice, can become habit. Social skills are critical to make friends, get a job, and to live a fulfilling life. Research from Harvard University says social skills are the top factor for getting a job.

Share the following book excerpt with your son or daughter to give them a head start in mastering these important social skills.

Book Excerpt from
Smile & Succeed for Teens: Must-Know People Skills for Today’s Wired World


Good manners never go out of style. They are expected in all social and business situations.


Say “Please” when you request something from your family, friends, or customers. For example, “May I please borrow the car tonight?” or “Would you please unlock your gate so we can mow your backyard?” Be sincere and genuine.


Say “Thank you” when someone does something nice for you. These two words cannot be overused when showing your appreciation.

Say “Thank you” even if your request is not granted. A “No” today does not mean a “No” forever. Whether or not your parents let you borrow the car (or whether your customer has made a purchase or donation or not), they took the time to consider your request. Using good man­ners might help you hear “Yes” the next time you ask.

When a customer leaves your business, thank them for coming in. Say “Thank you” in a warm and genuine manner. Or say “Thank you for coming in. I look forward to seeing you again.”

Sometimes a telephone call, letter, or card is appro­priate and meaningful. For example, when you receive a gift from your grandparents, don’t text or email to thank them. Call and thank them on the phone or mail them a thank-you card or letter. Do this within five days of receiving the gift.


When someone says “Thank you,” answer with a smile and a polite “You’re welcome.” Don’t answer with “No problem,” “Sure,” or “Yep.” Always treat others with the utmost respect.

WIRED TIP: “Please,” “Thank you,” and “You’re welcome” are just as important over the phone and online as they are face-to-face.

by Kirt Manecke

Excerpted from Smile & Succeed for Teens: Must-Know People Skills for Today’s Wired World, Copyright © 2014 by Kirt Manecke. Kirt Manecke is the author of Smile & Succeed for Teens, a crash course in social skills and job skills. Smile & Succeed for Teens is the winner of the Mom’s Choice Gold Award honoring excellence, Teachers Choice Award, and the IPPY Gold Award recognizing excellence. Learn more at

Temple Grandin contacted Kirt the same day she read his book and urged him to use her testimonial to get Smile & Succeed for Teens out to all teens and adults to lower the unemployment rate: “Smile & Succeed for Teens is a fantastic resource to help teens be successful at work.” -Temple Grandin

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