Posts Tagged ‘autism supports’

Having Autism and finding friends

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

For most children with autism lacking social interaction skills is common. Many children with autism will want to make and have friends but will find this process confusing and stressful.

Lacking social interaction skills is often referred to as the autism triad of impairments but those autism triad of impairments will vary from child to child.

The actual degree a child is affected with the autism triad of impairments will generally depend on the individual’s social development.

Some children with autism on the lower end of the autism scale may have little or no language and may have other related disabilities. On the other end of the autism scale those children with asperger syndrome will often be schooled in mainstream schools and be of average to above average intelligence. This set of individuals will probably desire friendships.

Those children with asperger syndrome or mild autism will probably want friendships but making and maintaining those friendships will be a struggle, unfortunately it is believed around 40% of autistic children in mainstream education will at some point be a victim to bullying.

For most typically developing children recess and break times are a time of fun and a chance to run around and interact with their peers, this is “normal behavior”

However this is not the case with an autistic child, often the sound of the bell can fill them with fear and dread. Autistic children prefer structure, routine and dislike surprises, noises and the unstructured chaos of free time. They find choice making difficult and can sometimes be overwhelmed by recess and break times.

A lot of autistic children find recess confusing, there are a lot of choices to be made, what to play with, who to play with, what to do, so many choices a “typical child” will take for granted and enjoy, this is not the case with an autistic child.

For example a simple game, the autistic child may choose to join in with their peers, but may find comprehending the rules confusing, they may not understand the need for the rules, and then just as they start to understand the rules may change or the game may stop.

The other end to this is those children with autism that will stick rigidly to the rule and this can sometimes take the fun out of the game for the other normally developing children, they may loose interest and unfortunately the autistic child may not understand why this is and become distressed.

Some autistic children can become overwhelmed by noise, which can make recess or break time a painful and stressful time, you may find them pacing up and down in their own little world until recess is over and they can return to the routine and structure of the classroom.

All these factors can make autism and finding friends difficult to say the very least.

So how can you help with the problem of autism and finding friends?

Generally as we discussed earlier kids with autism prefer structure and routine, this can be achieved by the use of autism visual supports such as autism visual schedules and social skills stories, these resources are used in the classroom to add structure and routine the child’s day.

These autism visual supports can also be used to help kids with autism cope with recess and break times taking away some of anxieties they may feel around this time of the day.

The autism visual supports can also be used to help autistic children understand how to maintain friendships, by teaching the autistic child how to use conversation, how to pretend play, how to be kind, respect peoples feelings and personal space, how to share and make choices and so on, all social skills we take for granted, but an autistic child will need to be taught these social skills directly.

Therefore the perfect place to start with autism and making friends is with autism visual supports such as autism visual schedules and social skills stories to teach the autistic child the social skills necessary for making and maintaining friendships and dealing with recess and break times.


You can find appropriate social skills stories and other autism resources for kids with autism for download at:

Autism Supports and Treatments

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

A diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder can come a s a great shock to many parents.

It is thought that an average of 1 in every 150 babies is going to be given a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder before they attend school, this number is astonishing. Research into autism suggests that there is no one reason for autism, and that there is no cure.

While there is no cure for autism spectrum disorder, there are various autism supports and treatments available that can and will help with the symptoms of autism.

Autism supports and treatments can help  with disruptive behaviors, and teach self-help skills that allow for greater independence.  So what are the main symptoms of autism? social awareness deficits, communication difficulties both in verbal and non-verbal communication, imagination skills deficits as well as some stereotypical behaviours and sensory processing issues.

Autism supports and treatments ARE often reffered to as “Intervention Strategies”

Which Intervention Strategies will work for your child is mainy dependant on your child’s own personal abilities. No two children with autism spectrum disorder will ever be the same, and therefore the approach will be different. However one of the most significant treatments of autism is Social Skills Stories and ARE adaptable to suit all.

Social Skills Stories ARE used to help teach social awareness skills, deal with communication difficulties and help the child on the spectrum overcome many of the symptoms of autism that they display.

Social skills stories ARE short descriptive stories which detail a skill or behaviour from the child’s own perspective, breaking the skill or behaviour down into small relevant chunks that the child on the spectrum can understand.

The social story looks much like a comic script with visual images and small pices of first person text. Typically children with autism spectrum disorder ARE visual thinkers, this means that they think in pictures and will gain far more from visual intervention strategies like social  stories, PECS, flash cards and so on.

Commonly visual intervention strategies like the social story will answer the “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what as well as “HOW” and will also provide an insight into the thoughts, feelings and emotions of others which is an area of marked weakness in most children with autism spectrum disorder.

To implement social skills stories for autism and to learn more about what autism supports and treatments are avauilable visit:

Alternatively you will find immediate download of socials stories for autism from:

Supporting a Teenager with Autism

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Autism is a disorder that affects approx 1 in every 150 people born. The symptoms of autism include: social awareness deficits, communication deficits, imagination deficits, in many stereotypical behaviours and in most autistics sensory processing issues.

The teenage years are for the majority of us our most social years. But for teenagers with autism the teenage years can be stressful and confusing. During adolescents we develop socially what we say and how we act becomes important in the eyes of our peers.

So how do you cope if you don’t really understand the added pressure being an adolescent can bring with it?

Supporting a teenager with autism is very important especially during puberty.

For many teens with ASD using visual supports is beneficial. Typically those with autism ARE visual thinkers and learners, therefore visual supports ARE easier for the teen to understand.

Visual supports have been around for a long time and have been proven to work very well for those with autism. There are many different autism supports such as: social skills stories, PECS, flash cards, visual timetables and so on.

Today I am going to concentrate on probably the most significant of the autism supports – social skills stories for teenagers with autism.

Characteristically social stories ARE used to teach and re-enforce skills and behaviours that the person with autism is struggling with. For example a teen with ASD will have social awareness deficits, which could result in social isolation and misinterpretations of activities or events.

Social stories act like a visual plan or framework of a skill or behaviour that needs teaching or re-enforcing. The social story will break down the skill or behaviour into smaller easier to understand sections, using first person text and visual images / pictures it will describe the skill or situation from the child’s own perspective.

So for example during puberty our bodies develop and we need to be aware of personal hygiene – a social story can  help explain the need for this, as well as help re-assure the teen with ASD that what is happening to their body is perfectly normal.

The social story for teens with ASD should answer the “wh” questions – who, what, where, when and why as well as “how” and provide an insight into the thoughts and feelings of others which is an area of marked weakness for those with autism.

A social story for teens with ASD should help pave the way for positive behaviours, help with transitions, changes to routines, self – help skills, social awareness deficits, communication deficits and so on.

To find suitable social skills stories for teenagers with autism visit:


Autism Spectrum Syndrome disability

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Autism Spectrum Syndrome disability


Autism Spectrum Syndrome disability is unfortunately misunderstood. The term autism spectrum disorder is an umbrella term used to cover a wide range of conditions. It is believed that around 25% of people with ASD will have accompanying learning disabilities.  Regardless of functioning, typically all people with an Autism Spectrum Syndrome disability will almost certainly have difficulties with social skills, imagination skills, behaviors and display communication difficulties, this is often called the triad of autistic impairments or social skills deficits.


Autism Spectrum Syndrome is a life-long condition that is either present from birth or from early childhood.

Listed below are a few of the autism characteristics that may be present in children with autism. However, typically those with high functioning autism or Asperger syndrome may only display a few of the autism characteristics listed behaviors while others on the lower end of the autism scale may display all the behaviors.

Having Autism Spectrum Disorder can mean:

  • Being unable to cope appropriately with social situations.
  • Self-stimulating behavior, often referred to as “stimming” this can include behaviors such as: flicking fingers, flapping arms, rocking back and forth and in some cases self-injury like head banging or slapping.
  • Communication difficulties – this can include asking questions, joining in conversations an finding appropriate topics of conversation.
  • Obsessions with certain facts or objects; for example timetables.
  • Asking questions they already know answers to.
  • Obsession with a routine that if broken may cause distress, this is a known area of weakness in children with autism
  • Difficulty forming relationships with others –  making friends can be difficult for children on the spectrum
  • Misunderstanding people’s feelings and emotions – difficulties with “mind reading” or reading peoples facial expression and body language is lacking in children on the spectrum
  • Problems with creativity and imagination are also a cause for concern in children on the spectrum. Typically children with autism are not spontaneous and will struggle with make believe and spontaneity preferring rigid learnt responses.
  • Typically many children on the spectrum will have a short concentration span.

Many autistic people are naturally gifted in certain areas, many autistic people are extremely gifted when using their hands constructing, painting and in music.

Those individuals with Asperger syndrome tend to be on the higher end of the autism scale. This set of individuals with Aspeger syndrome are generally average or above average intelligence.  Those individuals on the lower end of the autism scale may also display learning disabilities, this set of individuals may have poor communication skills and in many cases language may never develop.

In the classroom typically a student with autistic spectrum disorder may have difficulties forming social relationships and following school rules. This can cause issues within the classroom for teachers and other students. A student with autistic spectrum disorder may need extra support in school to help them cope. This help can come in the form of visual intervention strategies like: PECS, visual support cards, flash cards, social skills stories, visual timetables, now and next boards and so on…

Looking into what is Asperger Syndrome?
What is Asperger Syndrome?

Asperger syndrome has been described as “high functioning Autism.”
People with Asperger Syndrome will generally not have any learning disability. In many cases a child with Asperger Syndrome may not receive a diagnosis until they are older. Unlike a diagnosis of autism which is generally given before the child reaches three years of age. Indeed some people can go through their whole lives having Asperger Syndrome and not receive a diagnosis, until they are in their 40’s or older.

Asperger syndrome was first identified by Hans Asperger in the 1940’s; some of the characteristics of Asperger syndrome are:

  • Lack of empathy
  • Naive, inappropriate one sided interactions
  • Little or no ability to form friendships
  • Pedantic or repetitive speech
  • Poor non verbal communication
  • Intense absorption in certain subjects
  • Clumsy and ill coordinated movements and odd postures.

It is also apparent that those individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome also display the triad of autistic impairments – social skills deficits, as with individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

  • Social communication: knowing what to say to other people and understanding what they are saying to you.
  • Social understanding: knowing what to do when you are with others or behaving inappropriately (apparently oblivious to social rules).
  • Imagination: pretend play, make believe and fantasy.

People with Asperger’s Syndrome will generally fulfill their potential and may go on to university, have a job and live a relatively “normal” life, get married and have a family.

 Overcoming the triad of autistic impairment – social skills deficits can be as difficult for the individual with Asperger’s as it can be for those individuals with mild an lower functioning autism

Therefore overcoming social skills deficits can become a primary focus for all people with ASD and their families. Overcoming social skills deficits can be achieved using autism supports like visual intervention strategies such as social skills stories and visual support cards.

 Looking at visual intervention strategies – autism supports

 Generally people with ASD are visual thinkers and learners, which means they think and learn in pictures. Consequently, visual intervention strategies are beneficial because they use visual means of communication, such as images, pictures, graphs and so on.

 An individual on the spectrum will be better able to understand and follow instruction and information when it is presented visually, rather than written or oral command. Strategies such as social stories use visual images along with appropriate first person text to explain a situation or skill that the individual on the spectrum is struggling with.

 For example: Autism and making friends, generally children on the spectrum struggle to make and maintain friendships. A social story can act as a role model or step by step plan showing children on the spectrum the social rules they are expected to follow when attempting to make friends, like for example how to approach another child, how to start a conversation and so on…

For many children with autism social stories are a life line, helping them overcome many difficulties. Many parents trust social stories to help them overcome hurdles such as puberty, relationships, and transitions etc…

 Social skills stories can answer the ever important “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what as well as “HOW” and offer an insight into the thoughts, feelings and emotions of others this is a marked area of weakness for many children with autism.

 Generally social skills stories are in word format making them easy to edit, no two individuals with autism are ever the same and we all use different terminology, therefore social stories need to be editable. They should also be easy to print making them portable and convenient to use anywhere and anytime.

 To learn more about social skills stories and how they benefit children with Autism Spectrum Syndrome disability, as well as other autism supports like visual support cards visit:

Overcoming social skills issues in children with autism

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Children with autism do not develop socially in the same manner as typically developing children. ASD (Autism spectrum disorder) is a neurological disorder affecting the way an individual’s brain develops


Children with an ASD have difficulty making friends and getting on well with their peers.


A child with an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is far more likely to enjoy unusual interests not shared by their peers, for example an obsession with train timetables, clock mechanisms etc. This can in some cases cause the child to become socially isolated and unable to integrate fully with their peers.


All children with autism will have social skills deficits. However the individual’s social skills deficits will vary between children with an ASD, as no two children will ever be exactly the same.


Having social skills deficits can make it hard for children with autism to understand how other children are feeling, their emotions, they will be unable to read the other child’s body language or facial expression.


Overcoming social skills issues in children with autism can be difficult. However with time and perseverance, as well as autism supports like social skills stories this can be achieved.


What are social skills stories?


A social story is a short story that has been written in a specific style and format. A social story gives information through visual images and text, providing clear, concise and accurate information about what is happening in a specific social situation.

The social story answers the “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what. Showing visually what people do and why they do it, like a role model for the child with an ASD. This can help relieve anxieties and stress that can surround some social situations, for example making friends, asking questions, sharing, taking turns even respecting personal space, in-fact most social and communications difficulties can be addressed using social skills stories.

In fact the social skills story acts as a prompt for socially acceptable behaviours and can help the child with autism understand situations and skills and show them appropriate responses.


The social skills story can help the child with autism prepare for routine changes and new situations, which can help reduce negative reactions and behaviours which stem from a lack of social understanding.


Overcoming social skills issues in children with autism using social skills stories has already proven successful, today social stories are considered one of the major autism supports and are widely used in homes, schools, colleges and out and about.


To learn more about autism supports such as social skills stories visit sites such as where you will also find a vast selection of social skills stories which can be downloaded.

Other sites of interest are: