For people with autism learning self help hygiene skills can sometimes be problematic. This is due to deficits in social skills which is a common symptom of autism.Â
As typically developing individuals we naturally learn hygiene routines from watching our parents, our peers and from our environment etc., this is not the case for individuals with autism and direct teaching is necessary.
Typically people with autism have sensory processing issues also a common symptom of autism, having autism also affects the way individuals with autism process information, think, react also act and behave.
A child with ASD that has developed sufficient self-help skills is more likely to be integrated into a mainstream classroom, and less likely to be teased for inappropriate behaviours.
Research shows us that the majority of children with autism are visual thinkers and learners, meaning they think in pictures. Therefore any Intervention Strategies used for children with autism to provide information or instruction is generally better when presented visually.
For example Intervention Strategies which ARE visual such visual support cards, PECS, and social stories ARE USED with positive results. Probably the most popular Intervention Strategy for learning self help hygiene skills in autism is Social Stories.
Social stories are a tool for improving positive behaviours and skills in a child with ASD. A social skills story is a short descriptive explanation in visual format and first person text used as a visual plan or framework of a skill or behaviour that needs teaching or mastering.
A social skills story is much like a comic strip conversation. The social skills story breaks the skill into smaller easier to understand sections and should focus on the key social cues, answering the important â€œwhâ€ questions – who, where, why, when and what as well as â€œHOWâ€ and give an insight into the thoughts, feelings and emotions of others.
Social Stories also provide the ASD individual with possible solutions and suggestions as well as showing them what others are expecting of them, as well as what the ASD individual can expect from others.
Learning self help hygiene skills in autism using Social Stories has proven effective. Developed twenty years ago social skills stories can be implemented to help with not only self help and hygiene skills but also other social or communication skills the ASD individual may be struggling with.
To find out more about social stories and how they may benefit people with autism visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com/hygiene
Alternatively other social stories can be found at: