Having an autistic sibling is not easy autism is a complex neurological disorder. A sibling with autism can mean a typically developing child may not get as much attention and will be forced into a more back seat role within the family. This is not intentional, having a child with autism affects the entire family, and coping can be stressful and time consuming for many parents.
Autism affects the way a child develops in three main areas: social interactions, communication and imagination, this is often referred to as the triad of autistic impairments, or social skills deficits.
An autistic child may also be hyper or hypo sensitive, display repetitive behaviours and develop at times peculiar obsessions.
Having a sibling with autism may be frustrating your friends may think your brother/sister is weird they may even poke fun at them, which can be upsetting. An autistic child will not recognise sarcasm or humour because of their communication difficulties they may be unable to join in with jokes and appear aloof even rude at times.
Most children with autism will prefer routines and things to stay the same, which can mean an unexpected tea visit from a friend can upset them and cause anxieties even aggressive behaviours.
These situations are common in many households with an autistic child, autism affects the entire family, and yours is not the only household that suffers these issues.
Learning affective methods for communicating with an autistic sibling is made easier when visual supports are introduced.
Children with autism are normally visual thinkers and learners which means they think in pictures. Therefore using visual supports for autism is going to be beneficial. Visual supports for autism can take many forms, for example, PECS, flash cards, social stories and so on all of which can be used with good results.
Probably one of the major tools used in autism to help with communication difficulties are social stories. Social skills stories are generally written by experts and need no formal training to use.
Social skills stories were first developed by Carol Gray as tools used in autism for the treatment of communication difficulties. Today social skills stories are used for more than just communication difficulties. Social stories are also widely used as a means of treating the triad of autistic impairments or social skills deficits.
An autistic social skills story is normally written in the first person and using appropriate language. The autistic social skills story also uses images to show the skill or situation being targeted with by the story.
Research does show us that children with autism respond well to autistic social skills stories and suggest figures showing improvements in communication skills with children using social stories as a strategy to learn communication skills.
Using social stories as a strategy can help increase your autistic siblings understanding of certain skills and behaviours, such as how to pretend play, asking questions, respecting personal space, sharing, taking turns etc.
Social stories act as a role model of the skill or behaviour and answer the important “wh” questions - who, where, why, when and what as well as give the child with autism an insight into the thoughts, feelings, emotions and non verbal communications of others which can help reduce anxieties and stressful situations.
To learn more about how social stories can help a child with autism learn social, interaction, communication and imagination skills visit http://www.autismsocialstories.com
Remember autism affects the entire family, getting help can be useful; using visual supports for autism like social skills stories is going to help. To get access to social skills stories on a wide variety of issues visit any of the following sites: