Having deficits with social skills like hygiene and self-help skills is problematic.
For many individuals with autism spectrum disorder learning social skills can be confusing and at times even painful!
This is due to autistic sensory processing issues and the Triad of autistic impairments or social skills deficits, which are common symptoms for most individuals with autism spectrum disorder.
Having autistic sensory processing issues can mean your child is hyper or hypo sensitive to stimuli – touch, sound, taste, smell and visual sensations. For example even a simple hygiene skill like brushing your teeth can cause discomfort even actual pain.
The triad of autistic impairments or social skills deficits; means your child WILL struggle with social, communication and imagination skills – like hygiene and self-help skills.
Therefore Autism hygiene and self-help skills will need direct teaching. This can be achieved using visual supports such as – social stories, visual social story cards, flash cards and PECS
For example; Jason is a fourteen year old autistic teen, he is of average intelligence and has good verbal skills.
Jason is going through puberty and has started to sweat, which can be quite unpleasant for those around Jason.
Jason’s lack of personal hygiene has become an issue in class with his peers. But for Jason a lack of personal hygiene is NOT an issue and he is oblivious to the need for better hygiene he appears NOT TO NOTICE the name calling.
But Jason is becoming distressed and confused by the social isolation he is now experiencing.
As a result Jason has become prone to aggressive outburst, due to his lack of understanding of the social isolation he is suffering, this is having a knock on affect his peers now stay away from Jason – one because he is smelling bad and two because he is becoming aggressive. This circle needs to be broken, but for those with autism it can be difficult lacking social knowledge and social skills can make it difficult for an autistic teen like Jason to understand and read other peoples thoughts, body language and verbal and non-verbal communications.
Teaching autism social skills like hygiene and self-help skills USING autism social stories is beneficial and works.
Autism social stories ARE descriptive Intervention Strategies which have been used for around twenty years to HELP those with autism better understand and learn social, communication and imagination skills and behaviors.
Social skills stories, like the one INTRODUCED to Jason can answer the “wh” questions – who, what, why, where and when and “HOW” as well as give an insight into the communications – verbal and non-verbal, thoughts, feelings and emotions shown and expressed by others.
Which in Jason’s case was the sweat making him smelly, which caused social isolation and the knock on affects, the autism social skills story helped show Jason how he could right the situation and thus stop the social isolation which was making him un-happy.
The autism social skills story was used to explain to Jason why he was sweating and why this was causing his peers to stay clear of him and how he could put things right.
Teaching autism social skills like hygiene and self-help skills can and is made easier using social stories. Social stories use visual images/pictures to show the skill or situation in detail as well as first person text in a manner that most autistic individuals CAN understand.
To learn more about visual social skills story cards and autism social skills stories visit: