How do you help your Child with Autism Spectrum deal with difficult and everyday situations?
Autism Spectrum is a complex disorder, which affects mainly boys. There is no cure for Autism, but there are resources available to you as a parent of an Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Living with a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder is stressful; you can’t just spontaneously take the family out for the day, or turn up at school in a new car, or surprise them with a party.
Although these are all normal activities, your other children would love; it undoubtedly will throw your child with Autism Spectrum Disorder into a state of panic, which can cause a tantrum and so on…
Things need proper planning, Thats where Autism social stories come into their own!
They allow the child with Autism Spectrum a chance to rehearse the upcoming event, or practice the already learnt skill.
They also give you the opportunity to express your thoughts and feelings these can easily be added into the social skills story. A social skills story is like a visual plan or framework a constant reminder of how we act.
Handling your child with Autism Spectrum’s behavior using social skills stories will give reassurance and the right social cues. They are constant, repetitive and will act as a kind of security blanket for your child with Autism Spectrum.
The upcoming event, like a new baby, a new puppy, a new pair of shoes even can be discussed, even role played on the first couple of readings of a new story.
You will be giving your child an insight into what will happen, or what already happens, why it happens, what it happens for and how they are meant to act, or what they are meant to do.
Handling your child with Autism Spectrum’s behavior – for example: saying Hi, or excuse me, things we do automatically, but to an autistic mind these things are just silly, why do you want to say Hi to someone you don’t know, or don’t really care for, or even want to.
Politeness is a learnt skill, we learn it and it sticks in our minds, the autistic mind needs a gentle reminder of this skill until it is properly stuck in their, which can take a while!
So let’s take a look at autism social stories, they are with you constantly, a little reminder and a solid descriptive, straight forward, never deviating, or spontaneous, friend, to help your child with Autism Spectrum feel comfortable with situations, activities and events.
Can be a very useful tool they are used to teach social skills to children with Autism Spectrum.
A social skills story is a simple description of an everyday social situation, written from the Autistic a person’s perspective.
Autism social stories are designed to help with social situation as well as normal everyday events and activities.
They are also used to prepare for upcoming changes in the autistic persons routine and help the autistic person deal with other situations that are out of their normal daily routine like for example: a birth, marriage, death or other situation or activity.
The idea behind these Autism social stories is to allow the person to accustom themselves with the up-coming event, or daily activity or situation.
So that the Autistic person is aware of what is going on and can deal with it and the hope is that the social skills story will help with the person’s behavior.
What Are Autism Social Stories Like?
Autism social stories are always written in the first person, in the present tense, and from the autistic person’s point of view.
The social skills story should be written in a way that the child can understand. It should match their level of vocabulary and be as specific as possible, all of our social skills stories are editable and can be personalized quickly and easily.
Once the story has been written a responsible adult, parent, teacher, therapist etc. should read the story with the child at least two to three times before the child is given the story to read themselves.
This is to ensure that the autistic person understands the important elements in the story.
This can be done by re-reading the story and going over the important elements with the autistic person. You may find a check list approach or role playing the situation in conjunction with reading the story helpful.
For younger children who can’t read, or find reading difficult their Mum, Dad, Teacher or adult will need to read the social skills story for them.
The overall effectiveness of each story should be monitored, with the story being tweaked and or changed as the behavior is learnt.
What is the theory behind it?
Autism social stories were created to help autistic people improve their social understanding and interactions.
It was found that in children and adults with Autism Spectrum, by giving them simple and clear descriptions and instructions, social cues, to appropriate behaviors they were able to manage much better.
However, it is still not clear why Autism social stories work better for children and adults with Autism Spectrum, than picking up social cues from their everyday environment.
Researchers believe this is due to the Theory of mind. Which is basically that autistic people have problems understanding why we do the things we do. They find our lives confusing; they prefer repetition and things to remain the same at all times.
There are a number of ways Autism social stories help improve the Theory of mind.
One theory is that by giving prompts and suggestions to specific social cues and behaviors for situations, using Autism social stories may actually help to improve the autistic person’s problem solving abilities.
Autism social stories are also used to help the autistic person manage certain situations. Which will then help them to deal with tasks, activities and situations that they previously found difficult and confusing or upsetting?
They also help autistic people to understand what is expected of them, and what they can expect from other people.
Do Autism Social Stories Work?
Research has shown that Autism social stories do help reduce problem behaviors. They also help to increase the autistic person’s social awareness, and have been found to help re-enforce an already learnt skill or teach a new one.
Autism social stories are more useful to children with Autism Spectrum and adults who have basic language skills.
Although you can get Autism social stories in audio and pictorial formats. It is not known if Autism social stories work when sign language is used.
There are no known negative effects of Autism social stories reported and it is believed amongst the medical and social professionals that Autism social stories are beneficial to the autistic person.
The belief is that the social skills story can be used to teach the autistic person social skills that he/she would otherwise not know how to use appropriately.
This in itself is a good thing and can help alleviate what could otherwise be stressful situations for parents.
So What Does a Social Skills Story Look Like?
Autism social stories are made from different sentence types.
Descriptive, Perspective, Directive and Control and may also include Affirmative and Co-operative sentences.
Descriptive sentences provide information about specific social settings or situations, for example they provide cues to what the person sees, who is involved, and what happens, For example: At lunch time most of the children will go to the dinner hall.
Perspective sentences describe the feelings, emotions, thoughts, and/or mood of other people. Describing the way a situation is viewed by some body-else, many kids with Autism Spectrum have difficulties understanding how others see things. For example: Usually, when people are happy, they smile. Smiling makes people feel good.
Directive sentences provide the autistic person with information about what they should try and do, to be successful in the situation. For example: If I stay calm in class, I will learn more.
Recommended Formula For Writing Autism Spectrum Social Stories:
The recommended formula for writing Autism Spectrum Social Stories is: two to five Descriptive sentences for each Directive sentence, which may include Perspective and control sentences. Research shows that many stories which follow this ratio will be successful.
Children especially children with Autism Spectrum respond well to learning through pictures, these children tend to be visual thinkers and learners which means that they use visual images as a first language and speech secondary.
Pictorially rich Autism social stories are thought to be better and easier for the child with Autism Spectrum to understand.
Autism social stories can be designed for all age ranges and abilities.
A good social skills story will help in all areas as long as it is introduced properly as explained earlier, then monitored for its overall effectiveness.
If a story is deemed not to be working, it should be tweaked and then used. If it is still not working, the story should be looked at, is this the right story? Or maybe a different story would best suit the situation.
At http://www.autismsocialstories.com we aim to provide pictorially rich, specific Autism social stories that can be printed off and used for various ages.
With all of our stories we offer a full money back guarantee.
Please feel free to contact us if you need any more information on Autism social stories at firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you found this report helpful and now have a better understanding why Autism social stories work and what they can be used for.