Building social skills in autistic children

Social skills are difficult to understand for many children with ASD, and parents find teaching every day social and communication skills challenging. The social skills story has become an excellent tool for teaching those valuable skills.


Quite often teaching a child with autism social and communication skills can become a primary focus for many parents and teachers of autistic students.


An autistic student with social skills deficits will struggle in a mainstream classroom unless their taught appropriate social and communication skills. Success in teaching an autistic student social skills can increase self-confidence, understanding, the autistic student’s attention span and general behaviour within the classroom, which can all help the autistic student reach his or her full potential.


Research into autism has shown us building social skills in autistic children is beneficial if the child is to “fit in” socially with their peers.


Social skills stories were designed initially to aid communication deficits in children with ASD. However, today they are used more widely as a strategy in teaching autistic children social and communication skills thus addressing their social skills deficits.

A social skills story is much like a role model, this has been prove a successful strategy in teaching autistic children. A social story is a short visual story that describes with images and text a particular social skill being acted out (modelled).


The social skills story shows the skill from the child’s point of view in small easy to follow pieces. Using visual images the social skills story shows a step by step plan answering the “wh” questions (who, where, why, when and what) as well as giving an insight into the thoughts and feelings of others, much like reading a script of the skill, this is allowing the autistic child to rehearse the skill.


A social skills story can also be used to help with transitions, changes to routines and other less common situations. Using the same formula social skills stories will help parents and teachers with building social skills in autistic children effectively.


To learn more about how social stories can help a child with autism learn social and communication skills visit:






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