Children with autism spectrum disorder have marked difficulties with social skills and communication, these unique difficulties that can make more traditional methods of teaching social skills less effective.
Many children with autism spectrum disorders have communication difficulties with both verbal and non-verbal communication and language.
Autism is an umbrella term for a large spectrum of symptoms that fall on the autistic scale, the severity of the disability can vary widely between children.
Most autistic children will prefer routine, and will not like any deviations or changes to their daily routine.
When something unexpected happens or a routine has to change for whatever reason, many autistic children will find this difficult to cope with. Many will resort to behaviours such as stereotypical autistic symptoms such as rocking, and repeating the same word or phrase. For children with autism spectrum disorder this repetition is calming, parents and teachers should try and find methods and tips for teaching children with autism to cope with changes in a routine.
A good teaching tip for teachers of autistic students is to always have a visual schedule written down and displayed, so that the autistic student can refer to this throughout the day which can help re-assure and calm the autistic student.
A visual schedule is exactly that a visual plan of the daily tasks and activities, visual support cards are placed on a board in sequence showing what is going to happen and when through the day, the student can refer to the visual schedule for re-assurance and to help stay on task.
Another good use for visual support cards are to help children with autism spectrum disorder get across their needs, for example a toilet break or what they would like to drink etc. The idea being the child with ASD can give a teacher or parent the visual support card in exchange for what they require.
However, sometimes things don’t always run smoothly and routines even those mapped out on the visual schedule will need to change, this can throw a child with ASD into panic.
Using Intervention strategies such as social skills stories as well as visual support cards will help address this issue.
Intervention Strategies like social skills stories are probably one of the major methods and tips for teaching children with autism social skills. A social story can act like a role model. Social stories show visually by answering the “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what as well as “HOW” and give an insight into the thoughts and feelings of others. So in this example let’s say the fire bell is due to be tested, you don’t know when just that at some point during the day it will sound and everyone is expected to assemble outside including your student with autism.
The best way of dealing with this situation would be to use Intervention strategies like social stories. The social story can be read on the day or a few days in advance and then repeated on the day in question, you can share with your student with autism what will happen and why and what they will be expected to do, you can show them visually, the social story will use images as well as text and will be written in an easy to digest manner.
Social skills stories are generally visual; we know children with autism tend to be visual thinkers and learners, meaning they think in pictures, social skills stories use this concept.
The social story can help re-assure the autistic student of what is happening and what to do.
Social stories are generally easy to use and can be implemented for many different reasons such as: changes to routine, transitions, learning new skills, re-enforcing already learnt skills, encouraging positive behaviours, for stereotypical autistic symptoms, communication difficulties and for helping to show and explain skills or situations the child with ASD struggles to understand – for example recess, asking questions, using a telephone, visiting Grandma or the dentist and so on.
As you can see visual support cards and social skills stories are very useful and considered excellent methods and tips for teaching children with autism social skills
To learn more about social stories visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com
Social stories for autistic students: http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school
To learn more about visual support cards visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com/visual_aids
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