Archive for May, 2012

Using social stories to teach social skills to kids with ASD

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Commonly children on the autism spectrum HAVE difficulties WITH AND IN social situations.

The social awareness skills we take for granted – the ability to “read” peoples body and facial expression ARE NOT skills that children on the autism spectrum learn naturally.

A lack of social awareness skills makes it difficult for these children to make and keep friends and can lead to social isolation.

However, using social stories to teach social skills to kids with ASD has proven effective. The social story is typically visual, and as we know the majority of children on the autism spectrum are indeed visual thinkers and learners.

Therefore this type of teaching aid is going to work and give better results.

The social skills story can be adapted to suit all ages and abilities and there is NO formal training needed to be able to use this autism resource.

Introducing social stories

Typically using social stories to teach social skills to kids with ASD is beneficial in all area of social awareness skills teaching for example: making friends, sharing, calming down, Visiting the Dentist and so on…

·         The social story uses first person text and visual images to describe the skill or situation from the child’s own perspective

·         The social story breaks the situation/skill down into smaller easier to understand sections

·         The social skills story acts like a visual plan or framework

·         The social skills story answers the “wh” questions – who, what. why, when and where

·         The social story also explains “HOW”

·         Social stories should aim to also give an insight into the thoughts, feelings and emotions of others

·         Social stories should offer possible outcomes

For the vast majority of kids with autis,  social awareness skills ARE very difficult to learn and direct teaching is generally needed, this is what the social skills story WILL DO!

Parents and teachers report success in teaching social awareness skills and a drop in communication difficulties once social skills stories have been introduced.

To learn more about how social stories work and gain immediate access to 100 social skills stories downloads visit:

Having Autism and finding friends

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

For most children with autism lacking social interaction skills is common. Many children with autism will want to make and have friends but will find this process confusing and stressful.

Lacking social interaction skills is often referred to as the autism triad of impairments but those autism triad of impairments will vary from child to child.

The actual degree a child is affected with the autism triad of impairments will generally depend on the individual’s social development.

Some children with autism on the lower end of the autism scale may have little or no language and may have other related disabilities. On the other end of the autism scale those children with asperger syndrome will often be schooled in mainstream schools and be of average to above average intelligence. This set of individuals will probably desire friendships.

Those children with asperger syndrome or mild autism will probably want friendships but making and maintaining those friendships will be a struggle, unfortunately it is believed around 40% of autistic children in mainstream education will at some point be a victim to bullying.

For most typically developing children recess and break times are a time of fun and a chance to run around and interact with their peers, this is “normal behavior”

However this is not the case with an autistic child, often the sound of the bell can fill them with fear and dread. Autistic children prefer structure, routine and dislike surprises, noises and the unstructured chaos of free time. They find choice making difficult and can sometimes be overwhelmed by recess and break times.

A lot of autistic children find recess confusing, there are a lot of choices to be made, what to play with, who to play with, what to do, so many choices a “typical child” will take for granted and enjoy, this is not the case with an autistic child.

For example a simple game, the autistic child may choose to join in with their peers, but may find comprehending the rules confusing, they may not understand the need for the rules, and then just as they start to understand the rules may change or the game may stop.

The other end to this is those children with autism that will stick rigidly to the rule and this can sometimes take the fun out of the game for the other normally developing children, they may loose interest and unfortunately the autistic child may not understand why this is and become distressed.

Some autistic children can become overwhelmed by noise, which can make recess or break time a painful and stressful time, you may find them pacing up and down in their own little world until recess is over and they can return to the routine and structure of the classroom.

All these factors can make autism and finding friends difficult to say the very least.

So how can you help with the problem of autism and finding friends?

Generally as we discussed earlier kids with autism prefer structure and routine, this can be achieved by the use of autism visual supports such as autism visual schedules and social skills stories, these resources are used in the classroom to add structure and routine the child’s day.

These autism visual supports can also be used to help kids with autism cope with recess and break times taking away some of anxieties they may feel around this time of the day.

The autism visual supports can also be used to help autistic children understand how to maintain friendships, by teaching the autistic child how to use conversation, how to pretend play, how to be kind, respect peoples feelings and personal space, how to share and make choices and so on, all social skills we take for granted, but an autistic child will need to be taught these social skills directly.

Therefore the perfect place to start with autism and making friends is with autism visual supports such as autism visual schedules and social skills stories to teach the autistic child the social skills necessary for making and maintaining friendships and dealing with recess and break times.


You can find appropriate social skills stories and other autism resources for kids with autism for download at:

Social Stories for people with Autism

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Social stories are short explanations of a specific behaviour, skill, situation, event or activity showing/detailing definite information about what to expect in that situation and why.

Social skills stories ARE treatments for autism which CAN be used for a wide variety of difficulties including:


Making choices

Teaching self-help/hygiene skills

Preparing for changes to routines

Making and maintaining friendships

Dealing with skills/behaviours which cause stress and anxiety

Sudden changes/unexpected circumstances – such as a death, birth etc.

The social skills story will explain visually what is happening/about to happen and why, by breaking the skill/behaviour down into smaller relevant pieces, the “social cues”.

So for example the social skills story will aim to answer the important “wh” questions – what, where, why, when and who as well as “HOW” it will also attempt to give an insight into the thoughts and feelings of any other people affected or involved. Understanding the thoughts, feelings and emotions of other people is an area of considerable weakness for most people with autism spectrum disorder.

Individuals with autism spectrum disorder tend to be predominantly visual thinkers and learners which indicates that treatments for autism the visual support tools, resources and information should be visual. It is therefore believed that visual support tools like social skills stories ARE generally the best form of teaching/support tool.

Social Stories for people with Autism can be downloaded and used with great affect from sites such as You will also find visual social story cards and folders as well as other visual support tools such as picture communication cards/flash cards, behaviour plans and charts as well as freebies and a comprehensive parent page.


Enhancing social skills in autistic children

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

For the vast majority of autistic children social skills ARE either missing or NEED improving.

This is due to the triad of autistic impairments or social skills deficits, which ARE common to autism to varying degrees

The triad of autistic impairments or social skills deficits affect how the child on the spectrum acts, re-acts, thinks and behaves.

Methods for enhancing social skills in autistic children ARE generally visual. This is because most children on the spectrum ARE visual learners and thinkers and will tend to use language secondary.

Visual supports for autism such as: social skills stories, picture communication cards, visual schedules and flash cards etc ARE visual supports which can be introduced simply and need NO formal training to use.

Characteristically children on the spectrum find visual supports for autism beneficial. Social skills stories ARE short descriptive visual supports which describe a skill or situation in terms of the relevant social cues.

The social story looks much like a comic script, using images/pictures and short precise pieces of text. The social story is always from the point of view of the child on the spectrum, using first person text in short sentences.

The social story answers the “wh” questions: who, what, Why, where, and when as well as “HOW” and should also offer an insight wherever possible into the thoughts, feelings and emotions of others which is an area of marked weakness in most autistic children.

Social skills stories CAN be used for a wide variety of situations or skills such as: asking questions, calming down, hygiene issues, self-help skills and so on…

For many children on the spectrum visual supports for autism ARE invaluable and can be treated like visual plans or frameworks to help them cope with and learn skills and behaviours which cause stress and anxiety.

To learn more about visual supports for autism like social skills stories, picture communication cards, visual schedules and flash cards as well as other visual supports visual