Archive for the ‘autistic person’s’ Category

Managing Your Autistic Child’s Behavior.

Monday, January 25th, 2010

How do you help your Autistic child deal with difficult and everyday situations?

Autism is a complex disorder, which affects mainly boys. There is no cure for Autism, but there are resources available to you as a parent of an Autistic child.

Living with an Autistic child is stressful; you can’t just spontaneously take the family out for the day, or take an unexpected holiday, turn up at school in a new car, or surprise them with a party.

Although these are all normal activities, and undoubtedly your other children would love; even the smallest change from routine can throw your Autistic child into a state of panic, which can cause a tantrum and so on…

Things need planning properly, that’s where social stories come into their own.


They allow the autistic child chance to rehearse the upcoming event, or practice the already learnt skill.

They also give you the opportunity to express your thoughts and feelings these can easily be added into the social story. A social story is like a little friend a constant reminder of how we act.

Your Autistic child will find reassurance in his/her story and the right social cues. They are constant, repetitive and will act as a kind of security blanket for your autistic child.

The upcoming event, like a new baby, a new puppy, a new pair of shoes even can be discussed, even role played on the first couple of readings of a new story.

You will be giving your child an insight into what will happen, or what already happens, why it happens, what it happens for and how they are meant to act, or what they are meant to do.

What about saying Hi, or excuse me, things we do automatically, but to an autistic mind these things are just silly, why do you want to say Hi to someone you don’t know, or don’t really care for, or even want to.

Politeness is a learnt skill, we learn it and it sticks in our minds, the autistic mind needs a gentle reminder of this skill, unlike a typically developing mind the autistic mind needs help learning social and communication skills.

So let’s take a look at social stories, they are with you constantly, a little reminder and a solid  descriptive, straight forward, never deviating, or spontaneous, friend, their to help child with autism feel comfortable with situations, activities and events.

Social stories:

Can be a very useful tool they are used to teach social skills to children and people with autism.

A social story is a simple description of an everyday social situation, written from the Autistic a person’s perspective.

Social stories are designed to help with social situations as well as normal everyday events and activities.

They are also used to prepare for upcoming changes in the autistic persons routine and help the autistic person deal with other situations that are out of their normal daily routine.

For example a birth, marriage, death or other situation or activity.

The idea behind these social stories is to allow the autistic person to accustom themselves with the up-coming event, or daily activity or situation.

So that the Autistic person is aware of what is going on and can deal with it and the hope is that the social story will help with the autistic person’s behavior.

What are social stories like?

Social stories are always written in the first person, in the present tense, and from the autistic person’s point of view.

The social story should be written in a way that the child with autism can understand. It should match their level of vocabulary and be as specific and personalized as possible.

The story should be written and put into a document/ booklet format.

Once the story has been written a responsible adult, parent, teacher, therapist etc. should read the story with the child/person at least two to three times before the child/person is given the story to read themselves.

This is to ensure that the autistic person understands the important elements in the story.

This can be done by re-reading the story and going over the important elements with the autistic person. You may find a check list approach or role playing the situation in conjunction with reading the story helpful.

For younger children who can not read, or find reading difficult their Mum, Dad, Teacher or adult will need to read the social story for them.

The overall effectiveness of each story should be monitored, with the story being tweaked and or changed as the behavior is learnt.

What is the theory behind it?

Social stories were created to help autistic people improve their social understanding and interactions.

It was found that in children and adults with autism, by giving them simple and clear descriptions and instructions, social cues, to appropriate behaviors they were able to manage much better.

However, it is still not clear why social stories work better for children and adults with autism, than picking up social cues from their everyday environment.

Researchers believe this is due to the “theory of mind”. Which is basically that autistic people have problems understanding why we do the things we do. They find our lives confusing; they prefer repetition and things to remain the same at all times.

There are a number of ways social stories help improve the “theory of mind”.

One theory is that by giving prompts and suggestions to specific social cues and behaviors for situations, using social stories may actually help to improve the autistic person’s problem solving abilities.

Social stories are also used to help the autistic person manage certain situations. Which will then help them to deal with tasks, activities and situations that they previously found difficult and confusing or upsetting?

They can also help the autistic child / person understand what is expected of them, and what they can expect from other people.

Do Social Stories work?

Research has shown that social stories do help reduce problem behaviors. They also help to increase the autistic person’s social awareness, and have been found to help re-enforce an already learnt skill or teach a new one.

Social stories are more useful to autistic children and adults who have basic language skills.

Although you can get social stories in audio and pictorial formats. It is not known if social stories work when sign language is used.

There are no known negative effects of social stories reported and it is believed amongst the medical and social professionals that social stories are beneficial to  all autistic children, young people and adults.

The belief is that the social story can be used to teach the autistic person social skills that he/she would otherwise not know how to use appropriately.

This in itself is a good thing and can help alleviate what could otherwise be stressful situations for parents and carer’s.

So what does a social story look like?

Social stories are made from different sentence types.

Descriptive, Perspective, Directive. They may also include Affirmative, Control, Co-operative sentences.

Descriptive sentences provide information about specific social settings or situations, for example they provide cues to what the person sees, who is involved, and what happens, For example: At lunch time most of the children will go to the dinner hall.

Perspective sentences describe the feelings, emotions, thoughts, and/or mood of other people. Describing the way a situation is viewed by some body else, many kids with autism have difficulties understanding how others see things. For example: Usually, when people are happy, they smile.  Smiling makes people feel good.

Directive sentences provide the autistic person with information about what they should try and do, to be successful in the situation. For example: If I stay calm in class, I will learn more.

Recommended formula for writing Autism social stories:

Are two to five Descriptive sentences for each Directive sentence, which may include Perspective sentences. Research shows that many stories which follow this ratio will be successful.

Children especially autistic children respond well to learning through pictures.

Pictorially rich social stories are thought to be better and easier for the autistic child to understand.

Social stories can be designed for all age ranges and abilities.

A good social skills story will help in all areas as long as it is introduced properly as explained earlier. Then monitored for its overall effectiveness.

If a social skills story is deemed not to be working, it should be tweaked and then used. If it is still not working, the social skills story should be looked at, is this the right story? Or maybe a different social skills story would best suit the situation.

At www.autismsocialstories.com  we aim to provide pictorially rich, specific social stories that can be printed off and used for various ages.


Social stories for kids with autism

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Unlike typically developing children, kids with autism spectrum disorder do not naturally learn social or communication skills.  As typically developing individuals we learn and use verbal and non-verbal communication automatically, we use expression and body language to convey information sometimes without even realizing we are doing so.

 

Using facial expressions and body language we can portray love, happiness, sadness, contentment and fear.

 

Without social and communication skills we would be left confused and inevitably social mistakes and blunders would be the norm. Our interpretations of how or what others are thinking or feeling gives us the ability and knowledge to read what comes next, this ability is missing in autism.

 

Generally for kids with autism spectrum disorder the world is confusing, and with a lack of social and communication skills their ability to be understood or communicate can be hindered and often confused.

 

Unlike their typically developing peers the autistic child finds it difficult to read situations or interpret expression and non verbal communications. For kids with autism social prompts are easily missed or mistaken, their ability to understand behaviors such as sharing, taking turns even making friends is impaired and in some cases completely missing.

 

Therefore parents, care givers, teachers and other people involved with the care of kids with autism find great relief in autistic visual supports that can help them to teach the autistic child social and communication skills effectively.


Autistic visual supports such as social stories for kids with autism were developed around twenty years ago to help re-enforce and teach social and communication skills to kids with autism spectrum disorder.

 

The images and pictures used in social stories for kids with autism are powerful re-enforcers, and as such are probably the most significant resource used for teaching appropriate social and communication skills to kids with autism spectrum disorder.

 

Autistic visual supports such as social skills stories for kids with autism provide visual cues and representations along with appropriate text. The social skills stories for kids with autism also provide support and understanding using appropriate language, written in first person text from the autistic person’s point of view. Social stories use a specific defined formula.

 

Research shows us significant numbers of autistic children benefit from the implementation of social skills stories for kids with autism and therefore many teachers, parents and other professionals now rely on these autistic visual supports to help them teach and re-enforce social and communication skills.

 

 

To get more information on autistic visual supports and download social skills stories visit any of the following site:

 

www.autismsocialstories.com

The symptoms of mild autism

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Autism spectrum disorder is a complex neurobiological disorder, there is no cure for autism and typically the symptoms of autism will be ongoing throughout the autistic person’s life.

 

Autism spectrum disorder is characterized by varying degrees of autistic impairments often referred to as the triad of autistic impairments or social skills deficits.

 

These social skills deficits are typically displayed in the development of communication, social, imagination and interaction skills and abilities, and also by repetitive behaviors.

 

The symptoms of autism range from mild autism which is often called asperger syndrome to severe autism or low functioning autism.

 

The symptoms of mild autism can vary between individuals on the spectrum. Although all children on the autism spectrum disorder scale may exhibit some similar traits not every child will display all of characteristics associated with autism.

 

A child with autism on the lower end of the autism scale may never develop speech or it may be delayed and may have other educational disabilities, while a child with autism on the higher end of the autism scale can be high-functioning with average or above average intelligence and attend mainstream school.

 

Some autistic children have sensory processing issues in some or all of the senses and may display sensory processing issues such as being sensitive to the feel of fabric so much so that all tags must be cut out of clothing before they will wear it. Another child with autism may display no sensory issues at all.


However, all children with autism spectrum disorder will display social skills deficits with communication whether your child has the symptoms of mild autism or severe they will all have communication both verbal and non-verbal communication skills difficulties.

 

A child with autism will have difficulties relating to other people and will fail to understand non-verbal communication or body language.


Children with autism spectrum disorder are often referred to as having “mind blindness” or lacking the “theory of mind”. This means missing the ability to predict the thoughts, feelings and emotions expressed by other people.


For example we can tell a lot by a person’s posture, we can tell whether they are approachable, upset or happy, this ability to read another person is missing in people with autism.


However there are treatments available to people with autism that can help them learn social, communication, imagination and interaction skills.

 

The internet makes finding appropriate autism resources that help autistic people learn these social skills much easier. Generally most autistic people have found tremendous successes with autism resources such as social skills stories.

 

The symptoms of mild autism are such that generally most autistic children or asperger syndrome individuals can use social skills stories efficiently for coping and understanding social skills that they otherwise struggle to comprehend, which can sometimes lead to social blunders and stressful situations.


Sites that offer downloads OF SOCIAL SKILLS STORIES as well as expert advice and support like: http://www.autismsocialstories.com