Archive for the ‘on the spectrum’ Category

Explain what social skills stories are

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Children with autism spectrum disorder HAVE social skills deficits and do not learn social and communication skills in the typical manner and unlike normally developing children do need direct teaching.

 

Intervention Strategies such as social skills stories ARE used to help teach children with autism spectrum disorder social and communication skills

 

Social skills stories are a powerful teaching strategy, a good social story will focus on a particular social situation or interaction, breaking it down into smaller easier to understand sections.

 

A social story will provide the child on the spectrum with accurate information which is important because a child on the spectrum will often find social situations confusing.

 

Intervention Strategies such as social skills stories can be used for various situations and skills that the child on the spectrum may be struggling with for example:  hygiene skills, making conversation, asking questions, respecting personal space, sharing, taking turns, recess, PE lessons and so on…

 

Using visual images a social story depicts the situation by means of relevant social cues and answers the “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what as well as “HOW” and will give an insight into the thoughts, feelings and emotions of others which is an area of marked weakness in children with autism.

 

It is probably easier to explain what social skills stories are by giving an example of how a social story can be implemented and used to help a child on the spectrum deal with a situation or skill that they are struggling with.

 

For example: your child with an ASD may struggle to make friends, this will be mainly due to their social skills deficits; having social skills deficits is common to autism. The social story can help the child with an ASD approach a potential friend and give them suggestions of possible outcomes, what to say and how to act as well as what the other child may expect of them i.e. respecting personal space etc.

 

To learn more about how social skills stories are implemented and used for children with autism visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com

 

Social stories need no formal training to use, are normally written in word format or PDF, can be personalized and edited to make them suitable for all ages and abilities. No two autistic individuals will ever be the same and we all use different terminology, therefore social skills stories can need altering for different autistic individuals.

For a list of 100 downloadable social skills stories visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com

 

Visual strategies for improving communication in autism

Monday, July 26th, 2010

What are visual strategies?


Visual strategies are things we see.

Facial and body movements, gestures, pictures, images and objects, environmental cues and written language these are all used as visual strategies that help support our communication. The world we live in is full of visual information such as a calendar, diary, clocks, signs, logos and so on all of which are used by us daily and support our communication. Without these visual strategies our lives would be confusing.

 

One of the major difficulties faced by children with autism is a lack of communication skills. A child on the spectrum will almost certainly have deficits with social interactions, communication skills and imagination skills.

 

A lack of communication skills is a problem faced by all children with autism and is normally the main reason the child on the spectrum finds difficulties with social interactions, communication, and imagination, language, in the classroom and in their behaviours.

 

Continuous research is undertaken into the causes and treatments for autism with conclusive results showing visual strategies for improving communication in autism help increase the understanding, social interaction and communication skills and behaviours of those on the spectrum.

 

Generally an individual on the spectrum will be a visual thinker and learner, which means that the individual on the spectrum will think in pictures and images, and will therefore respond and understand information easier, when it is presented visually rather than written or oral.

 

Therefore it is important that when teaching an individual on the spectrum communication skills the treatments for autism chosen for teaching be visually presented, using visual strategies.

 

Visual strategies for improving communication in autism such as social stories, PECS, flash cards, visual schedules etc can all be used as appropriate and effective methods for teaching an individual on the spectrum communication skills.


For children with autism it is not just the struggle with using language that hinders them but also understanding language and communication can be a difficulty. Children with autism lack the ability to understand the communication of others, trying to figure out what is happening or not happening, handling changes and transitions, and interpreting cues and signals in the environment can prove difficult and result in frustration and behaviour that is seen as negative.

 

Using visual support tools can help to increase the autistic child to understand what’s happening around them and why it is happening. Visual support tools are a good structure that can be used to help support and teach an individual autistic child daily and not so common tasks, behaviours and skills.


Social stories are visual strategies for improving communication in autism, and are regarded as one of the major visual support tools used today for individuals with autism, they can be used for a variety of issues, they can be edited to suit individual needs and levels of development, social stories are printable for ease of use and convenience and can be implemented quickly and effectively.

 

To learn more about how implementing social stories can help you teach social and communication skills and behaviours to your child with autism visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com


Alternatively other sites which offer downloads and explanations of and uses for social stories, and how implementing social stories for your child with autism can help are located at:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/social_skills

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school

http://www.insideautisticminds.com

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/behavior

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/socialskills

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school_resources 

Having autism and finding friends

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Many children with autism spectrum disorder do want to make and have friends. But having autism spectrum disorder can make this difficult.

Autism is a neurological disorder that affects a persons development in three main areas: social interactions, communication difficulties and imagination skills.

 

These developmental difficulties are referred to as the autism triad of impairments and it is this which hinders children with autism spectrum disorder.

 

The autism triad of impairments will vary from child to child as no two children will ever be the same.

 

Some children with autism on the lower end of the autism scale may have little or no language and may have other related disabilities.

 

By contrast for children on the other end of the autism scale, with for example asperger syndrome will often be schooled in mainstream schools and be of average to above average intelligence. It is generally this end of the autism scale, those with asperger syndrome and high functioning autism whom probably desire friendships.

 

For this set of children with asperger syndrome, high functioning autism or mild autism making and maintaining friendships will be a struggle. A staggering fact is that unfortunately it is believed that around 40% of autistic children in mainstream education will at some point be a victim to bullying.

 

A typically developing child in mainstream education will eagerly await recess and break times to let off steam and play with their friends, it is their time to run around and socially interact with their peers and have fun.

 

However for an autistic child, often the sound of the bell can fill them with fear and dread. Autistic children prefer structure, routine and dislike surprises, noises and the unstructured chaos of free time. They find choice making difficult will quite often become overwhelmed by recess and break times.

 

For many autistic children recess is a confusing part of the school day. There are a lot of choices to be made, what to play with, who to play with, what to do, so many choices a normal child will take for granted and enjoy, this is not the case for an autistic child.

 

For example a simple playground game that a typically developing child may enjoy, can be confusing to an autistic child. The autistic child may choose to join in with their peers, but may be unable to follow the rules of the game. For typically developing children this can be frustrating needing to stop and reconfirm the rules constantly. The child on the spectrum will not be deliberately being awkward, they probably do not understand the need for rules, and then just as they start to understand this set of rules, the rules may change, or the game may stop.

 

However, for some children with autism that do understand the rules this may also prove a problem, as they may stick rigidly to the rules which in some cases can take the fun out of the game for the other normally developing children. The typically developing children may simply loose interest and unfortunately the child on the spectrum may not understand why this is and become distressed.

 

Some children with autism spectrum disorder are hypo or hypersensitive and can become overwhelmed by noise, which can make recess or break time a painful and stressful time. They may be seen pacing up and down in their own little world until recess is over and they can return to the routine and structure of the classroom.

 

All these factors can make autism and finding friends difficult to say the very least.

 

So how can you help with the problem of autism and finding friends?

 

Generally as discussed earlier kids with autism prefer structure and routine, this can be achieved by the use of autism visual supports such as autism visual schedules and social skills stories, these resources are used in the classroom to add structure and routine the child’s day.

 

These autism visual supports can also be used to help kids with autism cope with recess and break times taking away some of anxieties they may feel around this time of the day.

 

The autism visual supports can also be used to help kids with autism understand how to maintain friendships, by teaching the autistic child how to use conversation, how to pretend play, how to be kind, respect peoples feelings and personal space, how to share and make choices and so on, all social skills we take for granted, but an autistic child will need to be taught these social skills directly.

 

Therefore the perfect place to start with autism and making friends is with autism visual supports such as autism visual schedules and social skills stories to teach the autistic child the social skills necessary for making and maintaining friendships and dealing with recess and break times.

 

You can find appropriate social skills stories and other autism resources for kids with autism for download at:

www.autismsocialstories.com

www.autismsocialstories.com/school

www.autismsocialstories.com/social_skills

 

 

Social awareness in autism

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Generally most children on the autism spectrum will appear aloof even rude at times, free of pretences, oblivious to public opinion and not concerned with making a good impression. Children on the autism spectrum are honest, if you do not want a straight forward answer don’t ask, they will not pretend and will not care if they hurt your feelings by being honest.

For children with autism a lack of social skills can lead in many cases to bullying, isolation and ridicule. A child on the autism spectrum will not worry about how others perceive them or whether they are considered cool or not by their peers.

 

A lack of social awareness in autism can be aided using supports designed to help teach children on the autism spectrum why we need social skills, what they are and how to conduct themselves.

 

Most autistic children are visual thinkers and learners and will respond better to visual information, such as visual autistic supports. There are many visual autistic supports available to use, but probably the most effective visual support for autistic children are social skills stories.

 

Social awareness in autism is a problem. Social skills stories tackle the ” questions – who, where, why, when and what as well as give an insight into the thoughts, emotions and feelings of others.

 

For example: You’re at a friend’s house, your friend’s son is playing nicely with his toy, but your son wants that toy. You have tried to tell him to wait, you turn your back and there is a yell! Your friend’s son is crying nursing a bitten arm, while your son is happily playing with the toy. Your son has not waited to share or asked nicely, his social awareness skills are missing, he wanted the toy therefore he took the toy.

 

What do you do? Stay in the home and never go out? NO of cause not, you teach your child on the autism spectrum appropriate social skills. Easier said than done? MAYBE! But introducing visual autistic supports such as social skills stories can really make a difference to children with autism.

 

A social skills story is aimed specifically at children on the spectrum, written by experts, needs no formal training to use, can be printed out for ease of use and convenience, will slip into your bag to take with you while out. A social story can be edited and personalized to suit your child’s ability and language recognition.

 

Social skills stories are normally visually rich using visual images to show your child with first person text how and why we do what we do or why we use certain behaviours.

 

Social skills stories are used widely by parents, teachers, care givers and other professionals to teach children on the spectrum appropriate social skills, they are also used to aid communication difficulties and to reduce negative behaviours such as biting, stimming, asking inappropriate questions and so on.

 

Social skills stories can also be used to help prepare for changes to routines, unexpected events or happenings, hygiene issues, in fact almost all social, communication and imagination issues can be dealt with by using social skills stories as a strategy.

 

To learn more about how to use social skills stories as a strategy when teaching social awareness in autism visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com

 

Or any of the following sites

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/social_skills

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/autistic_teens

Help teach autistic children to make friends

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) affects about one in every 100 children born.

 

Autistic children are sometimes referred to as being “locked in their own world” and struggle to communicate with others. Many autistic children have hyper or hypo sensitivities, will display repetitive behaviours and obsessive tendencies.


All children on the spectrum will have social skills deficits, the theory of mind: Social interactions, communication difficulties and imagination skills do not develop in the typical manner.

 

The theory of mind refers to how the child on the spectrum cannot readily appreciate the feelings, knowledge, or beliefs of other people, nor recognise or interpret his or her own thought processes. Consequently they will display communication difficulties, a lack of self-consciousness, and an inability to understand social situations, skills, nonverbal communications and imagination skills.

 

It is because of the theory of mind a child on the spectrum may find making friends difficult preferring solitary play.


Typically developing children may find a child on the spectrum hard to befriend, this is not uncommon, autistic children can appear rude, aloof and at times unfriendly or approachable.

 

This is due to their social skills deficits, an autistic child may fail to recognise nonverbal signals sent from another child, humour or jokes, they may lack the skills to pretend play, share or take turns all of which can make befriending an autistic child hard.

 

There are methods that can help teach autistic children to make friends, one method which is easy to use and can be implemented without any need for formal training is social stories.

 

Social stories are visual supports for autism which were developed almost twenty years ago as a means of aiding communication difficulties. However today their uses have increased, social stories are probably one of the major methods used to help autistic children learn social skills such as making friends.

 

Social stories are short, almost comic like representations of a skill or behaviour from the autistic person’s point of view. Using visual images and first person text the social story will answer the “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what a well as give an insight into the thought process, emotions, feelings and nonverbal communications of others.

 

Today visual supports for autism play a large part in the teaching of social, communication and imagination skills of children on the spectrum. Generally written by experts, teachers and parents of children on the spectrum, social stories are editable, can be personalized and should be printable for convenience of use. To access social skills stories for issues like making friends visit http://www.autismsocialstories.com

 

To learn more about social skills stories for children with autism and how they can be used to help teach autistic children to make friends, as well as for a wide variety of issues such as respecting personal space, asking questions, recess, visiting the dentist, joining in PE lessons and so on.


Get access to social skills stories for children with autism and related conditions.

http://www.autismsocialstories.com

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/social_skills

 

 

 

Children with Autism need social skills

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disorder of the brain which affects the way a person interacts and communicates with others.

 

Interestingly, almost four times more boys than girls are diagnosed with autism. Children are generally diagnosed with autism by three years of age.

 

The term “Autistic Spectrum Disorders” encompasses the many varying degrees of autism, from low functioning autism where the child will almost certainly have other difficulties such as seizures and in most cases educational deficits also. On the other end of the “Autistic Spectrum Disorders” scale – Asperger’s syndrome or high functioning autism, where the child will almost certainly be of average or above average intelligence.

 

It would be very wrong of us to categorise all children with an Autistic Spectrum Disorders into the same category. As with typically developing children all children with autism develop at varying degrees and no two children will ever be exactly the same.

 

However that said, all children on the spectrum will have social skills deficits. These are common to autism, social skills deficits affect the way children on the spectrum develop socially, as well as their communication skills and imagination skills.

 

Having social skills deficits can mean your child with ASD may be unable to communicate effectively, they may find making friends difficult and become stressed in social settings.

 

For many parents their child’s inability to relate or interact with other people can be stressful. Coupled with their child’s communication difficulties and odd use of language can leave many parents frustrated and needing help to teach their child appropriate social and communication skills and behaviours.

 

Children with Autism need social skills teaching directly, it is of no use to simply explain what your child should be doing, this will not help. Typically children with autism are visual thinkers and learners, meaning spoken or written information is not going to be understood as easily as information given visually.

 

So what does this mean for the child with ASD, well put simply talk less and use more visual supports when trying to teach an ASD child social and communication skills.


Children with Autism need social skills as much as everyone else does to help them function. A good source of visual supports are social stories, these treatments of autism have been around for around twenty years and are today probably the most significant treatments of autism used when finding means to teach an ASD child social and communication skills.

 

Social stories are short descriptive stories much like a comic script with visual images showing a skill or behaviour in a manner that is easily understood by children on the spectrum.

 

The social skills story breaks down the skill, such as respecting personal space, washing your teeth, taking a bath, eating dinner even visiting the dentist into small chunks, removes the frills and shows with visual images and first person direct text.


Explaining the “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what, as well as giving an insight into emotions, thoughts and feelings of those others involved, and suggest possible outcomes.

 

As well as detailing what to expect from others and in return what they expect in return from the child, all helping to make the child with ASD more comfortable with and in the situation.

 

To learn more about how social skills stories work as well as get access to downloads of social skills stories visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com/social_skills

 

Where you will find stories for hygiene issues, play, family matters as well as some stories for the classroom and out and about.

 

Alternatively visit sites like http://www.autismsocialstories.com

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/preschool

 

 

Social skills teaching to teenagers on the autism spectrum

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

All children with autism have social deficits in three main areas; social interaction, communication difficulties and imagination skills. Many will also display ritualistic and obsessive behaviours.

 

These social deficits will remain with your child into the teenage years; autism can not be outgrown or cured.

 

For the vast majority of us the teenage years are probably our most social years. For teenagers on the spectrum the teenage years can bring their own set of issues, with an increase in hormonal levels many teenagers on the spectrum may begin to suffer from seizures, this in-itself can cause major problems.

 

But add to that a changing body. Increased sexual desire and changing peer pressures, for autistic girl’s menstruation, the teenage years can be an anxious, confusing and stressful time for the ASD teen.

 

Puberty is not something that can be avoided just because you are on the spectrum, therefore various resources aimed at helping parents of autistic teenagers help their child navigate their way through the high’s and low’s of the teen years are available.

 

One such resource aimed at helping parents of autistic teenagers explain puberty, for autistic girl’s menstruation as well as hygiene and other age related social skills is social skills stories.


No doubt you are probably already aware of how good this resource can be and how affective.

 

Social stories can take the pressure out of social skills teaching to teenagers on the autism spectrum.

 

A social skills story is normally a short visual representation of the situation, skill or behaviour that needs addressing. The social skills story breaks the skill down into small pieces taking out the frill, and highlighting the social cues or prompts. By using visual images and first person text in a concise and clear step by step plan, the social story will act like a role model for the skill, situation or behaviour.

 

This allows the ASD teen to rehearse the skill making it feel more routine thus taking away any anxieties and confusion.

 

Social stories aim to answer the “wh” questions (who, where, why, when and what) as well as giving the teenager on the spectrum an insight into the thoughts, feelings and emotions of others.

 

Research suggests that social skills teaching to teenagers on the autism spectrum using social skills stories is beneficial

 

Not all social skills stories will be perfect, as no two teens will ever be the same, and from time to time will need tweaking to fit the teen and their capabilities.

 

To learn more about social stories for teens on the spectrum visit:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/autistic_teens

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/asperger_adolescents

 

Other sites offering social skills stories for children with autism can be found at:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com


Teaching social skills to children with autism

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

For the majority of children with autism direct teaching of social skills is necessary. Unlike their typically developing peers children with autism do not naturally acquire social skills from people watching or the environment. For many autistic children the ability to understand and read subtle cues, facial expressions, verbal and nonverbal communication and people’s body language is missing, which makes interpreting meaning challenging.

Teaching social skills to children with autism can take many forms from PECS and visual flash cards to ABA and social skills stories.

For many parents of autistic children choosing a school is difficult. To attend mainstream education children with autism or asperger syndrome will need a certain amount of social skills. Inclusion in a mainstream school is often not dependent solely on the child’s IQ or intelligence. Many children with autism or asperger syndrome are capable of working at the required level, but are not being accepted into mainstream education due to behavioral issues or poorly developed social skills.

Teaching social skills to children with autism is not easy, for many autistic children understanding instruction is difficult. However there are certain treatments of autism which can help overcome this hurdle.

Generally children on the spectrum are visual thinkers and learners, meaning they will comprehend information or instruction easier if it is given visually, for example images or pictures etc. rather than written or spoken instruction.

Therefore teaching social skills to children on the spectrum can be achieved far easier using visual tools and methods such as visual flash cards and social skills stories, both of which are visual and are proven successful methods.

A good social story will focus on a particular social situation or interaction. Some examples of social stories would be assembly, sharing, taking turns, not shouting out, recess etc. These are all good examples of social stories. The social story serves a number of purposes. The most important aspect being that the social story provides the child on the spectrum with a role model, something to follow visually.

Social stories address the “wh” question (who, where, why, when and what) as well as give an insight into the thinking, emotions and actions of others. It will also explain the actions and reactions expected of the child on the spectrum. Social stories are generally written following a specific pattern and normally by experts although some parents have learnt how to write social stories themselves.

Not all social skills stories are perfect. It may well be that a particular social story does not have exactly the desired effect or address all the necessary elements of a situation. Be prepared to occasionally rewrite a social story to make it more effective.

To find out more about social stories and how they can be implemented for teaching social skills to children with autism visit any of the following sites:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school

Social stories for children on the spectrum

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Social stories can be used as a treatment to help improve the social and communication skills of children on the spectrum.

Generally all children with autism spectrum disorder will have social skills deficits in social, communication, imagination and interaction skills and behaviours.

It is because of these social skills deficits children on the spectrum have difficulties with social situations, for example making friends, sharing, taking turns play skills and so on.

Social stories were first used as a means of communication, developed around twenty years ago by a therapist that at the time was working with autistic children. Since then social stories have grown in popularity and uses and are now regularly used to teach and improve the social and communication skills of those individuals on the spectrum.

Today social stories are probably one of the major tools used to help individuals on the spectrum learn social and communication skills and behaviours and can be easily adapted to suit their differing needs. There are many sites on the internet offering downloads of social stories for children on the spectrum, one such site is http://www.autismsocialstories.com

A social story is a short descriptive story, like a comic strip with visual images that details a situation or skill in small bite sized pieces, that can be easily understood and followed, by an autistic individual.

The social story follows a specific formula and is normally written in first person language and from the point of view of the autistic individual. With no frill language and visual images the social story breaks the situation or skill down in to relevant social cues, answering the “wh” questions (who, where, when, why and what).

Allowing individuals on the spectrum the opportunity to see what others are expecting of them, how they may be feeling, their emotions,  and give them an idea of what others may be expecting from them.

Social stories for children on the spectrum are used for various situations and skills that the child may be struggling with, like recess, hygiene skills, eating habits etc.

Many parents and teachers use social stories with great results, research suggests children with autism spectrum disorder do respond very well to social stories.

To find out how you can use social stories for children on the spectrum visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com where you will be able to find more information and downloads of social stories.

How having autism may affect your teen

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

For the majority of us the teenage years are our most social years, we change from being a child and treated as one, into a young adult. Our expectations change, as well as the expectations put on us from those within our world.

 

If you are on the spectrum this time of your life can cause anxieties, stress and confusion. Imagine being dropped off the bus in a totally alien environment where no one spoke your language, what would you do? How would you cope?

 

Well having autism is similar, the world around you is confusing, you like routines, things to the stay the same and can become confused when met by changes or unfamiliar situations.

 

For example puberty, confusing for a typically developing teen, but for a teen with ASD who already has difficulties with communication and social skills this time is going to be even more stressful. If you do not know how to ask what is happening to you, your emotions and your body how are you going to even begin to make sense of puberty?

 

That’s where autistic tools such as social stories can help.  A social story is used as a means of communication that can help calm nerves, reduce anxieties and explain even the most confusing situation, skill or behaviour that your teen with ASD might be struggling to cope with.

 

For example is your autistic teen struggling with menstruation? A social story can explain the “wh” questions (what, where, when and why) in a manner your teen with autism will understand. Many parents trust autistic tools such as social stories to help them find ways of teaching social and communication skills and behaviours.

 

Much like a comic strip conversation a social story is a visual framework detailing visually the skill or behaviour showing the key focus points and giving possible behaviour suggestions, which will allow the autistic teen to see what is expected of them as well as what they should be expecting from others.

 

The social story can also help the teen with autism practise a skill, for example going out with mates bowling, cinema, a meal out, a social kiss and so on helping calm and reassure the teen with autism. Making a confusing or stressful situation more routine, which in turn will hep the autistic teen feel more comfortable, reducing anxiety and stress.

 

Consequently, knowing how having autism may affect your teen you are now able to help and take more control by providing support in the form of social skills stories for autistic teens, these can be downloaded from http://www.autismsocialstories.com/autistic_teens

 

Or alternatively social skills stories for autistic teens can be downloaded from http://www.autismsocialstories.com/asd-teens

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/asperger_adolescents

 

By visiting any of these sites you can also find more information on what social skills stories are and how they are implemented to help with teenage issues for teenagers on the spectrum.


Other social skills stories are found at http://www.autismsocialstories.com

 

 

 

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