Archive for April, 2011

Teaching children on the autism spectrum

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Many people with autism are visual thinkers, this means they think in pictures rather like a DVD running through their imagination, pictures being their first language, and words (spoken and written)  being their second language.


Therefore teaching children on the autism spectrum is made a whole deal easier if the teaching is done pictorially or visually.


Rather than string together long sentences or display written instruction try to use more visual prompts such as diagrams, pictures, graphs and images when teaching.


Avoid long strings of verbal instructions. People with autism have problems with remembering the sequence this a common symptom of autism.


Using visual supports like visual support cards, PECS and social stories are excellent visual supports for children on the autism spectrum. For example children with autism have difficulties with social and communication skills; this is a common symptom of autism and is present in all children on the autism spectrum.


Having difficulties with social and communication skills is referred to as the triad of autistic impairments or social skills deficits.


The triad of autistic impairments or social skills deficits affect three main areas of development: Social skills, Communication skills and Imagination skills.


Using social stories as an Intervention strategy parents, teachers, care givers and other professionals are able to combat difficulties with the individual’s autistic impairments.


For example many children with autism struggle with transitions, changes to routines, reading emotions and expressions, learning skills, behaviours, communication and imagination. A social skills story can target the difficulty and visually show a detailed plan for tackling the situation.


A social skills story is much like a comic strip visually representing the skill or situation being taught, like a role model or visual plan. The social story will break the skill down into easy to understand sections, removing un-necessary language and fluff.


Social stories answer the ever important “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what as well as “HOW” and will give an insight into the thoughts, feelings and emotions of others which is a marked difficulty for most people with autism.


The social skills story uses visual images or pictures to explain the skill or situations and first person appropriate language always written from the autistic child’s point of view.


Most social stories are written in word format making them easy to edit and personalize, as none of us use the same terminology with our children and no two social story are ever going to be the same therefore social stories should be easy to edit.


Social stories should also be convenient to use, printable social stories for children with autism are available from reputable sites such as


Where you will find printable social stories for children with autism on a wide variety of issues such as: hygiene, for school, at home and for occasions and activities like visiting the dentist, getting a haircut and transitions such as moving school and house as well as for everyday skills like making friends.


To find downloads of social stories for kids with autism visit: