Archive for the ‘individual on the spectrum’ Category

Comprehending autism spectrum disorders

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

Parents, teachers, caregivers and other professionals involved in the care and well being of an individual on the spectrum can find comprehending autism spectrum disorders confusing and stressful.


All children with an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) will have the triad of autistic impairments in their ability to:


Socially interact

Communication difficulties

Imagination skills


Plus in most cases sensory processing issues which can affect an autistic individuals senses (taste, smell, touch, sound and sight). Most children with an ASD will also display obsessive and repetitive behaviours, will prefer routines and can become anxious if these routines change.


Children with an ASD also display marked difficulties with non-verbal and verbal communication. A child with autism will have difficulties comprehending the communication and language used by those around them as well difficulties in developing effective communication themselves.


Unlike typically developing children that learn social skills naturally, a child with autism will struggle socially. For many parents probably the hardest challenge they face is their child’s difficulty to understand the social behaviour of others. A child with autism will have difficulties displaying and comprehending appropriate socially accepted behaviours.


Generally most autistic individuals do not process information in the same manner as typically developing beings.  The opinions and thoughts of other are of no real consequence for the individual on the spectrum, which can cause frustrations and upset.


Consequently, comprehending autism spectrum disorders can be frustrating and stressful for those involved in the everyday care of an individual on the spectrum.


Research shows us however that although there is no cure for autism there are various treatments of autism that are available that can help overcome triad of autistic impairments.


Various treatments of autism like social skills stories work effectively addressing the triad of autistic impairments. They do this by showing the autistic child what to expect in certain situations or what is expected of them which reduces stress and helps control anxieties.


By answering the ever important “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what as well as giving an insight into the thoughts and feelings of others a social skills stories visually explain using images and relevant social cues the skill or situation. All helping an autistic child to better understand and cope with the skill or situation that

They may be struggling with.   


To find a greater comprehending of autism spectrum disorders and how social skills stories can help address some of the issues faced by children with an ASD visit sites like:

Autism Spectrum Syndrome disability

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Autism Spectrum Syndrome disability


Autism Spectrum Syndrome disability is unfortunately misunderstood. The term autism spectrum disorder is an umbrella term used to cover a wide range of conditions. It is believed that around 25% of people with ASD will have accompanying learning disabilities.  Regardless of functioning, typically all people with an Autism Spectrum Syndrome disability will almost certainly have difficulties with social skills, imagination skills, behaviors and display communication difficulties, this is often called the triad of autistic impairments or social skills deficits.


Autism Spectrum Syndrome is a life-long condition that is either present from birth or from early childhood.

Listed below are a few of the autism characteristics that may be present in children with autism. However, typically those with high functioning autism or Asperger syndrome may only display a few of the autism characteristics listed behaviors while others on the lower end of the autism scale may display all the behaviors.

Having Autism Spectrum Disorder can mean:

  • Being unable to cope appropriately with social situations.
  • Self-stimulating behavior, often referred to as “stimming” this can include behaviors such as: flicking fingers, flapping arms, rocking back and forth and in some cases self-injury like head banging or slapping.
  • Communication difficulties – this can include asking questions, joining in conversations an finding appropriate topics of conversation.
  • Obsessions with certain facts or objects; for example timetables.
  • Asking questions they already know answers to.
  • Obsession with a routine that if broken may cause distress, this is a known area of weakness in children with autism
  • Difficulty forming relationships with others –  making friends can be difficult for children on the spectrum
  • Misunderstanding people’s feelings and emotions – difficulties with “mind reading” or reading peoples facial expression and body language is lacking in children on the spectrum
  • Problems with creativity and imagination are also a cause for concern in children on the spectrum. Typically children with autism are not spontaneous and will struggle with make believe and spontaneity preferring rigid learnt responses.
  • Typically many children on the spectrum will have a short concentration span.

Many autistic people are naturally gifted in certain areas, many autistic people are extremely gifted when using their hands constructing, painting and in music.

Those individuals with Asperger syndrome tend to be on the higher end of the autism scale. This set of individuals with Aspeger syndrome are generally average or above average intelligence.  Those individuals on the lower end of the autism scale may also display learning disabilities, this set of individuals may have poor communication skills and in many cases language may never develop.

In the classroom typically a student with autistic spectrum disorder may have difficulties forming social relationships and following school rules. This can cause issues within the classroom for teachers and other students. A student with autistic spectrum disorder may need extra support in school to help them cope. This help can come in the form of visual intervention strategies like: PECS, visual support cards, flash cards, social skills stories, visual timetables, now and next boards and so on…

Looking into what is Asperger Syndrome?
What is Asperger Syndrome?

Asperger syndrome has been described as “high functioning Autism.”
People with Asperger Syndrome will generally not have any learning disability. In many cases a child with Asperger Syndrome may not receive a diagnosis until they are older. Unlike a diagnosis of autism which is generally given before the child reaches three years of age. Indeed some people can go through their whole lives having Asperger Syndrome and not receive a diagnosis, until they are in their 40’s or older.

Asperger syndrome was first identified by Hans Asperger in the 1940’s; some of the characteristics of Asperger syndrome are:

  • Lack of empathy
  • Naive, inappropriate one sided interactions
  • Little or no ability to form friendships
  • Pedantic or repetitive speech
  • Poor non verbal communication
  • Intense absorption in certain subjects
  • Clumsy and ill coordinated movements and odd postures.

It is also apparent that those individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome also display the triad of autistic impairments – social skills deficits, as with individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

  • Social communication: knowing what to say to other people and understanding what they are saying to you.
  • Social understanding: knowing what to do when you are with others or behaving inappropriately (apparently oblivious to social rules).
  • Imagination: pretend play, make believe and fantasy.

People with Asperger’s Syndrome will generally fulfill their potential and may go on to university, have a job and live a relatively “normal” life, get married and have a family.

 Overcoming the triad of autistic impairment – social skills deficits can be as difficult for the individual with Asperger’s as it can be for those individuals with mild an lower functioning autism

Therefore overcoming social skills deficits can become a primary focus for all people with ASD and their families. Overcoming social skills deficits can be achieved using autism supports like visual intervention strategies such as social skills stories and visual support cards.

 Looking at visual intervention strategies – autism supports

 Generally people with ASD are visual thinkers and learners, which means they think and learn in pictures. Consequently, visual intervention strategies are beneficial because they use visual means of communication, such as images, pictures, graphs and so on.

 An individual on the spectrum will be better able to understand and follow instruction and information when it is presented visually, rather than written or oral command. Strategies such as social stories use visual images along with appropriate first person text to explain a situation or skill that the individual on the spectrum is struggling with.

 For example: Autism and making friends, generally children on the spectrum struggle to make and maintain friendships. A social story can act as a role model or step by step plan showing children on the spectrum the social rules they are expected to follow when attempting to make friends, like for example how to approach another child, how to start a conversation and so on…

For many children with autism social stories are a life line, helping them overcome many difficulties. Many parents trust social stories to help them overcome hurdles such as puberty, relationships, and transitions etc…

 Social skills stories can answer the ever important “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what as well as “HOW” and offer an insight into the thoughts, feelings and emotions of others this is a marked area of weakness for many children with autism.

 Generally social skills stories are in word format making them easy to edit, no two individuals with autism are ever the same and we all use different terminology, therefore social stories need to be editable. They should also be easy to print making them portable and convenient to use anywhere and anytime.

 To learn more about social skills stories and how they benefit children with Autism Spectrum Syndrome disability, as well as other autism supports like visual support cards visit:

How to write social stories for children with autism

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

A social story is an Intervention Strategy used to help a child with ASD understand a skill or behavior that they are struggling with.


For the vast majority of parents of children with autism social skills stories are the perfect solution. What are social stories? And how WILL they help a child with ASD improve his/her social skills and behaviors?


What are social stories? Simply put; a social story is a short descriptive visual plan or framework much like a comic script. A social story follows a set formula that can help a child with autism learn and master skills they otherwise struggle with.


A social skills story uses first person text, and is generally written from the child’s own perspective. Written in a consistent manner and aimed at an individual with social skills deficits to help establish and encourage positive social interactions and behaviors.


The symptoms of autism means an individual on the spectrum will almost certainly have social skills deficits. Simply put: social skills deficits make it hard for an individual on the spectrum to make sense of the world we live in and process information. A child with ASD will generally prefer routine and structure and things to remain constant with no changes to daily routines, which can make our at times chaotic and unpredictable world confusing and the cause of anxiety.


Social skills stories are written by therapists, teachers and parents of children with autism to prepare them for experiences and changes to routines. Social skills stories can be on issues as varied as tooth brushing, visiting grand parents, recess even visiting the dentist or hairdresser.


Many parents of children with autism, caregivers and teachers create social skills stories to help teach social and communication skills and behaviors within the family and school setting.


Social stories are used to help children plan and mange transitions, ask appropriate questions, and calm down successfully.


An Intervention strategy like social stories are generally visually rich giving the autistic child visual cues helping them identify and understand the skill or behavior being taught or re-enforced. It is believed that children with autism tend to be visual thinkers and learners making the social story an ideal concept. Visual images in the social story for autism help make the social story’s content and purpose clearer.


When looking at how to write social stories for children with autism these factors should be considered:


A Social Story should describe a situation, skill, or concept in terms of relevant social cues, perspectives, and common responses in a specifically defined style and format.


The goal of a social story for autism is to provide accurate information and clarity in a reassuring manner that can be understood by the autistic child or young person.


Social skills stories are used as an Intervention strategy for most behavior and skills the autistic child or young person needs help with.


To find out more about how to write social stories for children with autism and gain immediate downloads of various social skills stories visit:


Looking at ways to teach self help skills in autism

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

Learning self help skills in autism is sometimes a difficult process. Autism is a developmental disorder which affects how an individual processes information, thinks, acts, reacts, communicates and behaves.


Mostly autism is diagnosed by the age of three, as soon autism is diagnosed parents can begin using treatments of autism such as Intervention Strategies which are put in place to help the child with autism learn skills and behaviours that they will otherwise struggle to understand and master. For example potty training, learning play skills, making friends, transitions and so on.


Intervention Strategies ARE used for autistic children, young people and adults and are generally written by experts, teachers and parents. There are various Intervention Strategies available which will help you teach self help skills in autism such as visual cards, flash cards, social stories, visual timetables and so on.


Looking at ways to teach self help skills in autism, one very popular Intervention strategy for teaching children with autism self help skills is Social Stories.


Social Stories are Intervention Strategies which were developed around twenty years ago to teach communication skills to children with autism spectrum disorder, today this popular Intervention strategy is widely used to teach social, communication and imagination skills and behaviours to children with autism spectrum disorder.


A social story should be visual generally most autistic children are visual thinkers and learners, which means they think in pictures, a bit like a movie script. This also means that the individual on the spectrum will probably not relate to written or spoken information and instruction in the same positive manner that they will respond to and understand visual picture or image information such as that in a social story.


The social skills story can help explain in visual format like a visual plan or framework and answer the “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what as well as “HOW” and give an insight into the thoughts, feelings and emotions of others this is a known weakness in autism.


Acting like a role model the social skills story will explain in detail using visual images and first person text the situation, skill or behaviour which is being addressed for example hygiene skills or self help skills and break the skill down into smaller easier to understand pieces focusing on the key points the visual cues, helping the individual on the spectrum better grasp what is expected of them and what they can expect from others.


So for example you want to teach self help skills in autism by implementing self help social stories for autism you can help the individual on the spectrum visually see what is happening giving them a chance to practise the skill, prepare for a change to routine, learn a new skill, prepare for a transition and so on, which will help reduce negative responses and behaviours as well as stress and confusion for all involved.


Social Stories are suitable for all on the spectrum, can be edited so you can add your own personal detail and terminology and are generally easy to alter so they can be used time and time again. Being easy to edit also means they are usable for all abilities and ages.


To learn more about how easy it is to implement and use social stories as well as find suitable downloads of self help social stories for autism visit:


For other general Social Stories visit:

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:

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: 

Overcome social and communication difficulties in children with autism

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a pervasive developmental disorder which is characterized by a set of symptoms known as the triad of impairments.


The triad of impairments, sometimes referred to as social skills deficits are developmental difficulties in social, communication, imagination and interaction skills. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder will almost certainly also display ritualistic and obsessive behaviours.


It is because of their social skills deficits children with autism spectrum disorder have problems with social interactions and communication difficulties, which can at times cause stress and sometimes aggression.


Parents and teachers have found methods such as visual strategies that help overcome social and communication difficulties in children with autism such as visual flash cards and social skills stories are beneficial.


Developed twenty years ago as a means of overcoming communication difficulties with autistic children the social skills stories are now used for various situations or skills that individuals on the spectrum struggle with.


Skills and situations that individuals on the spectrum are struggling with such as social interactions, making friends, having conversations, asking questions can be addressed using visual strategies like social skills stories.


Social skills stories are used to address many of the triad of impairments or social skills deficits associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder and are now one of the major tools used in the treatment of autism.


Social skills stories do not need any formal training to use and can be adapted to suit all individuals on the spectrum. Social stories overcome social and communication difficulties in children with autism spectrum disorder by showing the autistic child a visual framework of the skill or situation that they are struggling with.

The social story answers the “wh” questions (who, where, when, why and what) and gives the autistic child an insight into the thoughts, feelings and emotions felt by others.


For information on how a social story can help your autistic child visit: and get downloads of social skills stories for your autistic child that will help you overcome social and communication difficulties in children with autism.


Other sites offering social skills stories can be found at: