Using Relationship Circles to Understand Social Boundaries

Understanding relationships is a key element of social development. Often children with Autism struggle to grasp the concept of “appropriateness within relationships“.

The Individual Relationship Circle is an essential Visual Tool to help your child understand the unwritten rules of Society. In this post, I will show you exactly how to use it.


To get started with using Social Circles, I suggest you download the necessary resources first and have them by your side. This will help in understanding the concept outlined in the next section of the post.

  • DOWNLOAD the Visual Reference to Social Circles. This will always act as a reminder, for both you and the child, what each color means from social relationship perspective.
  • Download the PDF TipSheet that provides you further instructions on how to use the Individual Relationship Circles visual tool. Click the button below:

Visual Supports Guide download

Create Your Relationship Circles

Once you have downloaded all the above resources, it’s time to prepare the Individual Circles Visual so that your child/student can start using the same. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Cut the Front Facing Relationship Cards into 6 square pieces along the marked borders.
  • Cut the Back Facing Relationship Cards into 6 square pieces along the marked borders.
  • Using an adhesive or glue, stick the front and back side at the back of each other. You should now have 6 cards with color prints on both front and back.
  • I suggest you consider laminating the each card so that it can withstand regular use
  • Punch a small hole at the top left corner of each card
  • Using a string, or a key ring, bundle them all together. In the end, this is how the finished visual should look like:
individual circles visual tool for autism
individual circles visual tool for autism

Download this image for your reference

That’s it, you are done! Now scroll down to the next section.

How to Use this Visual Aid

Now that you have the visuals created, it’s time to start applying this concept. Watch this video below to best understand how to incorporate this strategy in your child or student’s daily social interactions.



PECS Ninja Masterplan
My PECS Ninja Masterplan program for Autism not only contains 10,000+ Picture Communication cards, but also includes 100s of Tools, Strategies and Resources such as these to support 360° Development of children with Autism. Check it out here!


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