Archive for April, 2010

Autistic children in preschool

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Many parents of autistic children feel confused and helpless wondering how to communicate with their child and ensure their child has the opportunity to reach their full potential.


Research does suggest early intervention strategies for autistic children are beneficial, and that enrollment for autistic children in preschool can also help the child.

 

Your G.P. will be able to point you in the right direction with regard to early intervention strategies for autistic children.

 

Many parents of autistic children opt to place their child in mainstream preschool.  It is always a good idea to make an appointment to visit the preschool and discuss your child with the teacher to ensure she is aware of what autism is and that appropriate provisions are in place before your child begins.


If you are the teacher of an inclusive preschool a good place for you to start will be with the introduction of appropriate visual support tools for preschool children with autism. 


There are many visual support tools available today, with PECS, flash cards and social stories being among the most significant visual support tools for preschool children with autism that are available to you. All of which can now be sourced directly from the internet, as well as from OT and the speech therapist.

 

Using visual support tools for preschool children with autism do not need any form of formal training, sites offering good support and visual tools can be visited at:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/visual_aids

http://www.autismsocialstories.com

 

Personally we recommend the use of both flash cards and social stories combined. By placing visual supports like flash cards around the preschool you can help the preschool autistic infant quickly identify certain areas, for example a picture of the toilet above the bathroom allows the child to find the toilet without causing the stress and anxiety. This is repeated around preschool in areas the child will need to identify like the pencil tray, sink, coast pegs etc.

 

Social stories for the preschool autistic infant are short descriptive visual scripts used as a tool to teach and improve social and communication skills. The preschool autistic infant may have difficulties interacting in play, or understanding make believe, ask for a drink etc. A social story will help the child address these difficulties.

 

Social stories are much like a comic strip showing the skill or behavior in visual images with age appropriate text always in first person and from the child’s point of view.

 

To find out more about social stories for the preschool autistic infant visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com/preschool

 

 

 

Autism within the classroom

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Over recent years there has been a marked increase in special needs children being educated in mainstream schools. This increase means teachers are faced with new challenges to meet the needs of the special needs children in their classrooms. For many teachers the needs of special needs students can be quite challenging and up to 75% of mainstream teachers lack appropriate training and many lack constructive support.


The internet has become a good place for teachers to find alternative strategies that can help serve a diverse range of individual needs within a regular classroom environment. Such strategies are especially necessary in dealing with children with autism.

 

Some children with autism are high functioning and will have average or above intelligence. However those children with low functioning autism may also have other learning difficulties.

 

Generally special needs students with autism will struggle to express their needs, or when they do not understand something. For many special needs students with autism asking questions and understanding school rules can be frustrating and difficult, this may cause some students with autism to become anxious and stressed.  This lack of understanding is due to the student’s social skills deficits, this is common to autism.

 

Teachers can help special needs students with autism address their social skills deficits and help them cope better within the classroom and school through the use of visual support cues for special needs students.

 

For example, placing a visual support cue over the bathroom with the word written out clearly and a picture of a toilet will help the special needs student quickly identify the bathroom without feeling anxious.

 

Teachers are also finding benefits in using visual support cues such as social stories to help the student with autism understand and deal with situations and skills or behaviours that they may be struggling with, such as recess, assembly and joining in with classroom activities etc.

 

Social stories can be used a visual tool in the classroom for almost every situation the special needs student is finding difficult, teachers can use the internet to download social stories for students with autism

 

A social story is a simple short descriptive story that uses visual images and short pieces of text. The social story breaks the situation or skill being dealt with down into relevant cues and explains the “wh” questions (who, where, when, why ans what) as well as giving the autistic student an insight into the thoughts and emotions of others and what others may expect of them.

 

So for example if an autistic student is struggling with school assembly a social story would be implemented that helps the autistic student understand when assembly will take place, who will attend and why, as well as what they should expect will happen and how they will be expected to act during assembly.


The social story will take away any anxious feelings that the student with autism may have surrounding assembly.

 

To learn more about how social stories can benefit the special needs student with autism visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school

OR http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school_resources

Alternatively for all other social stories visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com

Treatment for autism

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a pervasive developmental disorder, and as yet there is still no known cure for autism, however there are many treatments.

 

Some help manage the symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder, while others address the social, behavioural and communication difficulties associated with this pervasive developmental disorder. Of all the available autism treatments any claiming to be a cure for autism is simply not so.

 

There are many different theories surrounding the “cause of autism” and as yet no one theory has proven conclusive, research into the cause of autism and the symptoms of autism is still on-going.

 

There are many different types of therapies and autism treatments developed specifically to alleviate symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorders.

 

A diagnosis of autism is not the end of the world, with the available therapies and treatment for autism it is expected that children with autism have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential.

 

Probably one of the most significant treatment for autism is social stories, a social story will address communication difficulties help build social skills, interaction and imagination skills as well as encourage appropriate behaviours.

 

We all need a certain amount of social and communication skills to be able to function daily. With autism the ability to learn social and communication skills is missing, however using a treatment for autism like social stories this lack of naturally learnt skills and behaviours can be addressed successfully.


Typically developing children learn through the environment and their family and peers, the child with ASD wont, therefore direct teaching is necessary.  Using social stories as a strategy for improving and teaching social skills to your child with ASD is simple, no qualifications or formal training is needed, social stories are simple to use and very effective.

 

The symptoms of autism vary between individuals, however all autistic’s tend to be visual thinkers and learners. Therefore social stories were developed to be visual, much like a visual framework of the skill or behaviour being addressed.

 

For many parents probably the most significant difficulty they struggle with is their child’s communication difficulties, for most children with autism language is confusing and often they do not understand what is expected of them. Much like if you were dropped in a foreign country, chances are you would not understand what people were saying, however if they showed you a picture chances are you would catch on pretty fast. This is the same with autism visual images and pictures trigger understanding much quicker that the spoken or written word.

 

 

For example a parent struggling to make their child understand may talk more trying to explain, this is not going to work with a child with ASD, the answer is to talk less and use visual cues prompts. For example show them a picture of the toilet, dinner etc rather than speak they will understand a lot quicker and with less stress for the both of you.

 

Using social stories as a strategy uses this knowledge; a social story is a visual representation with minimal text, always in first person language that describes the skill or behaviour from the point of view of the autistic individual.

 

The social story breaks the situation down into small pieces and each piece of the skill for example going to recess is represented by an image and text describing the “wh” questions (who, where, when, why and what) as well as what the child with ASD may expect from others and what they will expect back from them. This will help the autistic individual feel more comfortable and in control which will reduce anxieties and stress.

 

To learn more about this treatment for autism and how using social stories as a strategy can help your child with ASD visit any of the following sites:


http://www.autismsocialstories.com

How to use visual strategies in autism

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010


Generally children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and related conditions tend to be visual learners. They understand what they see (visual) much easier than what they hear (auditory) or read. Therefore, children with Autism Spectrum Disorder benefit significantly from the use of visual strategies.

 

By using visual strategies parents, care givers and teachers are able to address communication difficulties, helping the ASD child interact successfully with those around them.

 

For many children with Autism Spectrum Disorder interacting with their environment and those around them can prove stressful and confusing.  The ability to understand and read other people’s body language, facial expression and communications is missing in autism.

 

What are the communication difficulties in autism? Firstly the ASD child will be unable to express themselves effectively.  Secondly the ASD child will not understand social skills or cues they will struggle to understand what they are supposed to do or not do.  And can become confused and anxious about what is happening or not happening.

 

For many parents, care givers, teachers and other professionals learning how to use visual strategies in autism has proven beneficial.

 

There are many visual tools available for autism, but probable the most significant visual tools for autism are social stories and PECS cards or flash cards.

 

Learning how to use visual strategies in easy, no formal training is necessary. Visual tools such as social stories for autism can be downloaded, edited and printed to personalize them for your ASD child.

 

Social stories are short visual frameworks of a skill or behaviour that the child with ASD is struggling with. Much like a comic strip conversation, the social story is presented visually with appropriate text always in the first person and from the point of view of the child with ASD.

 

Following a set formula and normally written by experts a social story can be implemented easily and effectively helping communication difficulties and other social skills and behaviours.

 

To learn more about these valuable visual tools and to get downloads of social stories for autism visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com Here you will find information on how to use visual strategies in autism, as well as info on autism and social stories for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.

 

Other sites offering info on autism and social stories for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions can be found at:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school_resources

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/social_skills

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/behavior

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/preschool

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/hygiene

Encouraging positive behaviour using social stories

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Social stories can be used as a tool for encouraging positive behaviours in children with ASD (autism spectrum disorder).

 

Using social stories as a strategy does not need any formal training, parents, care givers, teachers, teacher’s assistants and so on can use social stories effectively as a means of encouraging positive behaviours as well as helping to improve social and communication skills.

 

Research suggests that social stories are a major proactive behaviour intervention that provides a positive approach in encouraging appropriate social behaviours.

 

A social story is a short story written in first person language from the ASD individual’s point of view.

 

We know that children with ASD tend to be visual thinkers and learners. Consequently, the social story was designed to encompass this. Developed twenty years ago as a means of communication, the social story has now evolved into a major intervention strategy in autism.

 

Studies show encouraging positive behaviour using social stories has proven very effective and their use has grown dramatically over the last twenty years.

 

Research also suggests that social stories have been proven to reduce inappropriate behaviours, for example tantrums, inappropriate vocalizations, as well as reduce social isolation.

 

Encouraging positive behaviour using social stories is also beneficial in helping children with ASD understand and learn skills such as sharing, making friends, taking turn, respecting personal space and so on.

 

Social stories are beneficial for all individuals with autism spectrum disorder, and are available from sites such as: http://www.autismsocialstories.com

 

Social stories are user friendly, easy to implement and require no formal training to use. Using visual images and accurate no frill text a social story is much like a visual framework of the skill or behaviour that the ASD individual’s struggling to master, understand, cope with or that needs encouraging.

 

Social stories are available over the internet, written by experts that can be downloaded, printed and edited to suit all children with autism spectrum disorder.

 

Visit sites such as: http://www.autismsocialstories.com

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/behavior

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/social_skills

www.autismsocialstories.com/school

Improve play skills in children with autism

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Play is believed to be an essential element in the development of any child. It is believed that through spontaneous play and exploratory play children begin to make sense of the world around them.

 

In preschool infants with autism the ability to learn through play is missing, this is common in autism and mainly due to the child’s autistic social skills deficits.

 

Generally most children with autism spectrum disorder have issues with social interactions, due mainly to social skills deficits which are present in all autistic individuals.

 

For parents of children with autism, “play” may look very different to that of a typically developing child.

 

An example of “play” that may be presented by an autistic infant could be, the child who loves cars, but the only thing he really enjoys doing with the cars is spinning the wheels. Or maybe your autistic infant loves Lego, but all he really does is line up or sort the Lego into colours.

 

Research suggests that through play children learn social skills such as sharing, cooperation and taking turns. It is also believed that through play children learn social and communication skills, build friendships and self-esteem.

 

Therefore parents of children with autism wanting to improve the play skills in their autistic infant, can benefit from using autistic tools and methods that help with teaching and improving social and communication skills. For example it is widely believed that visual supports such as visual support cards, PECS and social stories have great benefits.

 

For many parents with preschool infants with autism social stories are already a good resource. Social stories are used as a visual framework for any skill or behaviour that needs improving or mastering such as “play skills”


A social story is a short visual representation that uses first person language and follows a specific formula. Social stories were first developed by therapist Carol Gray to help her communicate with the children she was working with.

 

Since then social stories have evolved and are now widely used as a tool to help parents and teachers teach and improve social and communication skills in children with autism spectrum disorder.

 

A social story can be quickly and easily adapted to suit and child, a social story should be written by parents or professionals that have been properly trained to write them.

 

To find out how social stories can help improve play skills in children with autism spectrum disorder as well as how to implement and use social stories with preschool infants with autism visit:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/preschool


Alternatively social stories for children with autism can be found at: http://www.autismsocialstories.com

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/potty

 

 

 

Improving self help hygiene skills in autism

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Hygiene is an essential life skill; people with autism may need to learn this essential life skill directly. As typically developing individuals we learn hygiene routines through watching our parents, our environment, our peers and school. For individuals with autism learning any social or behavioural skill is not done in the typical manner.

 

Due to social skills deficits people with autism do not process information in a typical manner, neither do they people watch, or absorb information from their environment. This is why direct teaching for improving self help hygiene skills in autism is proving necessary.

 

A child with ASD that has developed sufficient self-help skills is more likely to be integrated into a regular classroom setting and have better experiences with peers.

 

Research shows us that social and communication skills and behaviours are improved in individuals with autism when the necessary information is presented visually. For example information is given and absorbed far easier with visual cues such as support aids, cards, PECS, and social stories.

 

Social stories are used as a tool in improving positive behaviours and skills for individuals with autism. A simple social story is a short visual description using visual images as a framework of a skill or behaviour that needs teaching or mastering.

 

A simple social story describes the skill or behaviour through text and images much like a comic strip conversation be detailing only the important social cues, as well as answering the “wh” questions (who, where, why, when and what) and by providing the ASD individual with possible solutions and suggestions as well as showing them what others are expecting of them, as well as what they can expect from those around them.

 

Studies into the effectiveness of direct social skills teaching suggests that social stories are effective in teaching and improving self help hygiene skills in autism.

 

To find out more about social stories and how they may benefit any ASD individual visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com/hygiene

 

Alternatively other social stories can be found at:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/social_skills

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school

Improving social skills in teenagers with autism

Saturday, April 10th, 2010


Typically developing teens will learn social skills through observation and interactions with the world around them.

 

But for adolescents with autism this ability is missing, due to their social skills deficits. These social skills deficits will almost always be present in adolescents with autism, but with varying degrees.

 

For teenagers with autism the ability to pick up on social cues like for example, body language, hand gestures, facial expressions, as well as speech inflections like humour, warmth, sarcasm or hostility is missing.

 

For many teens with ASD simple social interactions like having a conversation or joining a conversation, making and maintaining friendships can be difficult. A lot of parents, care givers and teachers turn to simple yet effective methods and treatments for improving social skills in teenagers with autism, such as social stories.

 

Social stories can be a useful tool for many teens with ASD. Research suggests that social stories be used as a means of addressing social skills deficits, by improving and teaching social, communication, imagination and interaction skills and behaviours in individuals with ASD.

 

A social story is generally written for a person with social skills deficits to help improve and teach positive social interactions or behaviours.

 

At the start of puberty teens with autism can sometimes be confused, and need help to understand puberty and the changes happening in their own bodies.

 

Social stories can be used as a tool that will help explain puberty to teens with autism. The social story can also be used as a tool with issues like personal hygiene for example using deodorant, showering, for autistic girls menstruation, masturbation, appropriate touching, social kissing, swearing, and personal space.

 

Parents, care givers and teachers agree that the se of social stories at this time in an individual with autisms life is proven helpful.

 

To gain access to social stories that will help with improving social skills in teenagers with autism, such as using deodorant, showering, for autistic girls menstruation, masturbation, appropriate touching, social kissing, swearing, and personal space.

 

Visit http://www.autismsocialstories.com/autistic_teens

 

Other sites offering social stories can be found at: http://www.autismsocialstories.com/asperger_adolescents

http://www.autismscoialstories.com/socialskills

Social stories for children with ASD

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Social Stories are used as a tool when teaching social and communication skills to children with ASD. Therapist Carol Gray first introduced the concept of social stories to help her communicate with the autistic children she was working with.

Social stories for children with ASD provide the child with a visual representation and possible behavior suggestions for situations, skills and behaviors that they may find difficult or confusing.

ASD social stories are used by parents of autistic children and teachers to help improve social and communication skills in children with autism spectrum disorder. ASD Social stories use visual cues that show the child with ASD what is expected of them as well as what they can expect.

All children with autism spectrum disorder will have social skills deficits; which make social and communication skills and behaviors difficult for them to master.

Studies reveal that teaching social and communication skills to children with autism spectrum disorder is one of the best indicators of positive long-term outcomes in the child’s development.

Consequently, parents of autistic children and teachers use tools such as social stories to improve and teach social and communication skills and behaviors. A simple social skills story can help a child with autism identify the important cues in a given situation.

A simple social skills story can show a child with ASD visually possible outcomes, for the skill or situation by giving focus to the key points, the social cues; thus, showing the child with autism spectrum disorder how another person may re-act or feel in the situation by describing another’s point of view.

A simple social skills story can also explain rules, routines, situations, upcoming events or abstract concepts; and how the child with ASD can understand others emotions, thoughts and feelings, expectations, cope with changes to routines and learn appropriate skills and behaviors.

ASD social stories use a specially defined formula. Generally written by experts, using first person language and normally visually rich. Most children with autism spectrum disorder are visual learners making visual social skills stories an ideal teaching tool.

Many parents of autistic children, as well as teachers and other professionals use social stories for children with ASD to help improve and teach even the most basic social skills such as tooth brushing to complex social skills like attending a wedding, a birth even explaining how to make friends, have conversations, ask questions and more.

To download social stories for children with ASD on a variety of issues visit any of the following sites:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/sensory

http://www.autismscoialstories.com/social_skills

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school_resources

Using visual supports aids for Autism

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Many children with autism are visual thinkers and learners, which means they can process and understand information better when it is presented visually, for example in pictures and images rather than orally or in written format.

 

Therefore, it is advisable that when trying to give information to a child with autism, it is normally better to avoid long verbal sentences. And to support any verbal instructions wherever possible using visual supports aids.


By using visual supports aids for autism such as visual support cards, social stories and visual timetables, the child with autism can better understand what is expected of them, or what information the other person is attempting to express.

 

Using visual supports aids for autism, for example social stories; has been proven to benefit many children and young people with autism. Social Stories are a tool for teaching social skills to children with autism and related disabilities.

 

A social story is much like a step by step visual plan, similar to a comic strip script.


The social story provides the autistic individual with accurate information about any situation, skill or behaviour they may be finding difficult, stressful or confusing.


A social story will break the situation, skill or behaviour down into small easier to understand pieces, and give key focus to the main points. Social stories attempt to answer the “wh” questions (who, where, when, why and what) as well as attempt to give the autistic individual an insight into the thoughts, feelings and emotions of others.

 

By giving the autistic individual possible reactions they may get from others as well as how others will expect them to act and why. The goal of the social story is to increase the individual’s understanding of, make him more comfortable in, and possibly suggest some appropriate responses for the situation, skill or behaviour.

 

By using visual support aids for Autism parents, care givers, teachers and other professionals agree that teaching and improving social and communications skills is made easier and less confusing for children with autism.

 

To learn more about social stories for children with autism visit:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com

 

Alternatively other sites offering downloads of social stories for children with autism can be found at:

 

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/social_skills

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school_resources