Archive for January, 2010

Using social stories to teach conversational skill strategies to children with autism

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

For the majority of children with autism spectrum disorder verbal communication can be a real issue. This is mainly due to social skills deficits.

Although there is no known cure for autism spectrum disorder there are methods and treatments available that can be of help. For many parents of children with autism spectrum disorder their child’s social skills deficits can be a huge obstacle, especially social skills deficits in communication.

Being unable to effectively communicate can make interactions difficult, children with autism are generally unable to read other people they lack the theory of mind, the ability to interpret what another person may be feeling by reading their facial and body expression, this is the theory of mind.

An inability to understand and read others may then lead to social isolation and misunderstandings.

All kids with ASD experience some form of communication deficit usually with the appropriate use of the language. For example they may have difficulties with intonation, rhythm, and word and sentence meaning.

Sometimes kids with ASD may mimic certain things for example scripts from the T.V like commercials, or shows that are of interest to them, they may repeat a line from a book, radio show or song and continually want to repeat this phrase.

Other kids with ASD may have phrases that they use in situations, for example some children with autism spectrum disorder may introduce themselves at the beginning of conversations, or introduce their parent each day at the start and end of school.

Many parents, care givers and teachers look for ways to teach conversational skill strategies to children with autism.

 

Research suggests that using social stories to teach conversational skill strategies to children with autism will help with their child’s communication issues.

Undoubtedly your first step will be to consult a speech and language pathologist to have your child’s communication skills evaluated.

Using social stories to teach conversational skill strategies to children with autism can prove successful. Social stories are short descriptive visual step by step plans that show in clear no frill detail the skill or behavior being mastered. So for example with communication difficulties a parent may introduce an appropriate social story showing the child with ASD how this can be achieved helping to make them more comfortable in and with the skill or situation.

To learn more about social stories and how they can be used to help children with ASD learn social and communication skills and behaviors effectively. Plus get immediate downloads visit:

http://www.autismscoialstories.com

Encouraging daily living skills in children with autism

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Research suggests that children with autism spectrum disorder are visual learners. And that teachers and parents alike are finding that teaching and encouraging daily living skills in children with autism spectrum disorder has greater affect when visual supports for ASD are used.


For the majority of children with autism spectrum disorder probably their most debilitating facet is their difficulty with social and communication skills and behaviors.

 

All individuals with ASD will have in varying degree’s social skills deficits.

 

Many parents of children with autism spectrum disorder worry their child with have difficulties finding and making friends and taking advantage of the vast range of opportunities of a socially orientated world, as a direct result of their child’s social skills deficits.


Consequently, parents of children with autism spectrum disorder, care gives and teaches use visual supports for ASD such as social stories to assist them in teaching and re-enforcing social and communication skills and behaviors.


Social stories help develop language and communication in children with autism spectrum disorder as well as encouraging daily living skills in children with autism. They are also used to help teach social skills such as hygiene, or behaviors such as making friends, personal space, visiting the dentist and so on..


Social stories for ASD are also useful in and around school. Developed twenty years ago to teach social and communication skills to children with autism, social stories are written in fist person text, following a set formula using visual images to show and explain the skill or behavior being taught o re-enforced.

Almost like a comic strip, the visual step by step plan will show individuals with ASD the what, why, where and when helping them feel more comfortable in and with the situation , activity, event or skill they are struggling to master.


To download and learn more about social stories for ASD and how they are used for encouraging daily living skills in children with autism spectrum disorder visit:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/social_skills

 

For all other social stories for ASD visit:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com

Visual Supports and cues for children with autistic spectrum disorder

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Unlike their typically developing peers children with autism spectrum disorder will display deficits in social and communication skills, this is common in ASD.

 

As typically developing individuals we naturally use communication both verbal and non-verbal, we are able to use expression and body language to show how we feel, what we are thinking and so on. For those children with autism spectrum disorder this ability is lacking.

 

Generally we learn social and communication skills through our environment, peers and family, we use these skills in our everyday lives. For children with autism spectrum disorder using expression and body language is not a natural act. For the majority of children with ASD social and communication skills need direct teaching and nurturing.

 

For children with ASD the world around them is confusing this is due to their deficits in social and communication skills. Being unable to communicate effectively can cause stress and confusion, it is common for children with ASD to become agitated and stressed easily when they can not express themselves or make their needs known.

 

Generally using visual supports and cues for children with autistic spectrum disorder can help overcome a lot of the deficits in social and communication skills.


Endorsed by parents, care givers and teachers visual supports and cues for children with autistic spectrum disorder can be implemented quickly and easily helping to overcome a lot of the struggles met by both families and for children with ASD.

 

Generally children with autism are visual learners which make visual supports and cues for children with autistic spectrum disorder ideal. Therefore using visual supports such as social stories has become significant in the treatment of deficits in social and communication skills.

 

These short almost comic like visual step by step plans for skills and behaviors are always written in the first person following a specific formula.

 

Which was first introduced almost twenty years ago by therapist Carol Gray to help her find and teach social and communication skills to the children with autism spectrum disorder that she was working with.

 

Research shows us that children with ASD respond very well to the pictorial representation in social stories. Images and pictures are powerful re-enforcers for children with autism spectrum disorder, and as such are probably the most significant resource used for teaching appropriate social and communication skills.

 

Visual supports such as social stories for autism are implemented to help with any social and communication skill or behavior that the child with ASD is struggling to master.


Social stories can be used at home and in the classroom with great affect they can be used on their own or with other social stories for autism. To find out more about this valuable autism tool and to gain immediate download visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com

 

Where you will find 100 social stories for autism all for immediate download that will become useful visual supports and cues for children with autistic spectrum disorder

 

Visit and download social stories at:  www.autismsocialstories.com

 

Or the following site:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/visual_aids

 

 

 

 

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.


Help with social skills at preschool for autistic children

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

During the preschool years children develop communication and social skills. It is during this time children build a solid building block for future growth. Through play children learn social, communication, imagination and interaction skills as well as gross and fine motor skills.

 

Typically developing preschool children will learn social and communication skills naturally through play, interactions and watching their families and peers. With the autism preschooler these naturally developed skills will need direct teaching and careful consideration.

 

This is achievable using visual supports for autism. Developed to help children with autism learn and master social and communication skills, visual supports for autism are used readily by teachers, parents and other professionals involved in the care and well being of children with autism.

 

Teachers find help with social skills at preschool for autistic children using visual supports for autism such as visual supports cards and social skills stories. Reports show us these two significant tools for teaching social and communication skills are beneficial and can help preschool autistic children learn vital skills and behaviors such as potty training, sharing, and taking turns as well as play skills.

 

Help with social skills at preschool for autistic children such as social skills stories can now be downloaded and sourced through specialist sites for autism such as http://www.autismsocailstories.com/preschool

 

Social skills stories are short visual representations of a skill or behavior much like a comic strip using visual images to show a skill or behavior in a way that the preschooler with autism can understand. The text may be read by an adult and shared with the preschooler with autism.

 

Other sites offering help with social skills at preschool for autistic children such as visual supports cards for autism can be sourced through sites such as http://www.autismsocailstories.com/visual_aids

 

Visual support cards for autism are small laminated picture cards that can be used to show the preschooler with autism what is expected. They are also used as a reward system or for the autism preschooler to show what they need or want. For example the child may be thirsty or need the toilet, by selecting an appropriate card they can then show the teacher what is troubling them etc.

 

Both sites offer support to teachers and parents and help with social skills at preschool for autistic children through visual supports for autism such as social skills stories and visual supports cards for autism.

 

Visit: http://www.autismscoailstories.com/preschool

http://www.autismsoailstories.com/potty

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/visual_aids

 

 

 

Using social stories in a classroom

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Autistic students have deficits in social cognition, which means they lack the ability to think about appropriate behaviors in social settings.

 

This is explained using the theory of mind or the ability to mind read. Typically developing children can understand and read facial expression and body language. With the autistic student this ability to read other people is missing, experts believe the autistic students deficits in social cognition are due to this theory of mind.

 

Teachers use something called social skills stories to help autistic students cope with their deficits in social cognition. The social skills story gives the autistic student and insight into the skill or behavior that they are struggling with.

 

By showing them visually much like a comic strip, a step by step visual plan giving them social cues and prompts where needed and suggesting possible behaviors, which can help alleviate stresses and confusions.

 

Therefore using social stories in the classroom helps the autistic student by presenting them accurate information social cues for the skill or behavior, also showing them what they may expect from others.

 

Teachers report using social stories in a classroom for situations like for example, shared reading, waiting your turn to speak, asking questions, turn taking, interaction lessons such as gym, as well as social stories for difficulties the autistic student may have with skills such as using the bathroom, recess and so on..

 

The teacher may use social stories in a classroom in various ways, sometimes teachers may use many social stories in and around the classroom and school helping the student with autism with various skills and behaviors that they may be struggling with.


For autistic students that may be non-verbal the autistic educator will want to read the story to the autistic student at the appropriate times.

 

Generally an autistic educator will want to use social stories in a classroom to help with deficits in social cognition helping the student with autism feel more comfortable at school and in the classroom, which will cut down on melt downs and stress.

 

It is believed using social stories in a classroom is beneficial and will help teach vital social skills to the student with autism making for a happier student and class.


You may download social skills stories for autistic students from:

 

www.autismsocialstories.com/school

 

Other social skills stories for autistic students can be downloaded from www.autismsocialstories.com/school_resources

 

Other visual supports such as visual aids cards are available from:

www.autismsocialstories.com/visual_aids

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

Autistic spectrum disorder social and communication skills teaching

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

The autism spectrum disorders are more common in children than some better known disorders such as diabetes, spinal bifida, or Down syndrome.

 

All children with ASD demonstrate deficits in:


Social skills

Communication both verbal and non-verbal skills

Imagination skills

Interaction skills

 

These deficits are often referred to as social skills deficits and will be present in children with ASD to varying degrees.

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In addition to these social skills deficits children with ASD may also display sensory processing issues. Each of these autism symptoms will present in each individual child with ASD but will almost certainly differ between children. For example a child with ASD may have little trouble learning to read but exhibit extremely poor social interaction.

 

Typically children with autism spectrum disorder do not follow the normal pattern of development expected. Generally parents of ASD children may have an idea that there is something not quite right with their child before a diagnosis of autism is given.


From birth, typically developing babies are social beings. Early in life, they gaze at people, turn toward voices, grasp a finger, and even smile. However with ASD children this is not always the case. Research suggests that although children with ASD are attached to their parents, the attachment is not typical and is difficult to read. For parents of ASD children, their child’s apparent lack of attachment can be upsetting and stressful.

 

Generally typically developing children have met all their milestones in communication by the age of three, however for most ASD children these milestones may pass un-met. Communication is a problem for most ASD children.


Some children that receive a diagnosis of autism will never develop speech. It is not un-common for children with autism spectrum disorder to develop speech late in some instances as late as 9 years of age. For many ASD children using communication aids such as PECS, visual support cards and social stories can help them learn social and communication skills.

 

For those individuals with autistic spectrum disorder social and communication skills teaching needs to be direct for example making friends, for typically developing children this skill is learnt naturally. For an ASD child this skill does not develop naturally, although some children with autistic spectrum disorder may wish to be social they do not know how.

 

Therefore children with autistic spectrum disorder social and communication skills teaching can be helped using visual aids such as social stories, many parents, care givers; teachers and other professionals use social stories to great affect. With research showing us that since their development almost twenty years ago, social stories have grown into probably one of the most significant tools used in teaching and re-enforcing social and communication skills and behaviors to children with autism and related conditions.


Social stories are a tool for used for teaching social and communication skills and behaviors to children with autistic spectrum disorder. They provide an individual with ASD visual explanations about situations that he or she may find difficult, stressful or confusing.


Social stories use a specifically defined style and format. The goal of social stories is to describe accurately using first person language and social cues in a clear and reassuring manner that is easily understood by the individual with ASD the situation or skill they are struggling with. Giving the individual with ASD accurate information in a step by step visual plan helping them manage and cope with the skill or behavior helping them to feel more comfortable with and in the situation or with the skill being taught or re-enforced, helping to reduce anxiety, stress and melt downs.

 

For more information on social stories for autism and how they can help with autistic spectrum disorder social and communication skills teaching visit any of the following sites where you will also gain immediate downloads of appropriate social stories for autism.

 

http://www.autismsocialstories.com

 

 

 


Communication goals for children with autism

Friday, January 15th, 2010

For the majority of us our speech and language develops during the first three years of our lives.

 

However this is not the case for people with autism. Experts believe that the difficulties in speech and language development that are almost always present in individuals with autism are due to a variety of reasons occurring before, during or after birth. It is because of the autistic individuals lack of speech and language skills that they find it difficult to interact with the world around them effectively.

 

As with typically developing children no two autistic individuals are ever going to be the same, therefore the degree of communication problems will vary. Most individuals with autism have difficulty understanding and using language, as well as problems with word and sentence meaning, intonation, and rhythm.

 

Many people with autism use echolalia, a repetition of something previously heard. For example with immediate echolalia the autistic individual will repeat a question like “Do you want something to drink?” instead of replying with a “yes” or “no.” With delayed echolalia people with autism may say “Do you want something to eat?” when they are asking for food.

 

Generally people with autism have difficulties with eye contact and attention span and are often unable to use gestures for example pointing, sign language and to assist verbal communication.

 

Therefore many parents, care givers and teachers believe communication goals for children with autism should be made a priority.

 

There are various treatments and methods available for helping to encourage affective communication in children with autism, things like visual aids for autism, PECS and social stories. These help the child with autism understand and cope with communication and social skills they struggle with like asking questions, taking turns, sharing, making friends as well as other skills such as following school rules, recess etc.

 

Research into communication goals for children with autism shows social skills stories are an affective tool for teaching communication skills.


These short descriptive, visual stories are used to help the child with autism understand and manage communication and social difficulties. Developed almost twenty years ago the social skills stories are much like a step by step visual plan describing visually the skill being taught or mastered, showing the what, why, where and when helping the child with autism feel more comfortable with and in the situation.

 

You can instantly download social skills stories for any child with autism that have been expertly written, following the recommended formula, from sites such as http://www.autismsocialstories.com

 

Or from sites such as: http://www.autismsocialstories.com/social_skills

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school

 

 

 

How do visual aids help special ed children

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Students with special needs such as autism spectrum disorder often struggle in the classroom. For autistic students the classroom is confusing and can cause unnecessary stress. Students with special needs such as autism spectrum disorder may have problems with things like understanding instructions, listening following rules, changes to routines, transitions and friendships as well as other issues such as sensory processing, toileting, behavior and so on.

 

These issues will require special handling for the student with autism to feel comfortable in class and throughout the school day. Visual aids for autism can help alleviate many of these issues.


Visual aids for autism can make a huge difference to the student with autism and actually help them achieve their potential. For many autistic students using visual aids for autism such as social stories is a real benefit.


Generally teachers of autistic students will be aware of all autism classroom accommodations and will have taken their autistic students needs into account before the student with autism begins school. Many teachers of autistic students use social stories to help teach their student with autism appropriate social, communication, imagination and interaction skills and behaviors. As well as helping the student with autism cope with and understand the rules of school, as well as what is expected of them during the day, and what they can expect from others.


So let’s examine how do visual aids help special ed children – simply be making them more comfortable in and with situations, events and tasks they feel stressed by of fail to understand.


A social story is always written in the first person with visual cues and prompts appropriate to the skill or behavior being mastered. The social story is a visual step by step plan of a task broken down into small easily digestible chunks with focus being given to the key points the “social cues” which the student with autism can follow easily. They can be edited to suit individual needs and printed to make the accessible anywhere. So for example the social story can be used in the playground, outside school, in any class and so on in-fact anywhere it is needed to help support the autistic student.

 

To find out more about social skills stories for autistic students and how do visual aids help special ed children, plus get a download of 48 social skills stories for autistic students visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school

 

Or http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school_resources where you can download social skills stories for autistic students, quickly and easily.


Other sites offering social stories can be found at:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/social_skills

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/visual_aids