The best way to help a child with an ASD cope is to first understand the way they think.
Typically a child with an ASD will be a visual thinker, this means they will think in pictures; this is known as visual thought.
What does this mean: Being a visual thinker means they understand what they see, better than what they hear. For example visual learners learn through thinking in illustrations, a bit like playing a movie, instead of actual words and ideas.
Consequently, they benefit significantly from the use of autistic visual supports and strategies. Therefore, for many children with autism spectrum disorder, words or language are secondary.
When giving instructions to a child with autism, it is advisable to try to avoid long sentences of verbal information.
It is recommended that visual cues and symbols help the child with an ASD better grasp what is expected of them or what is being taught.
Consequently, by using visual supports in autism to teach social skills and behaviors the child with an ASD will better grasp the skills they struggle to master.
Children with autism spectrum disorder generally prefer or are more able to grasp rote memory, routines and repetition.
Visual supports in autism reflect these abilities using visual images and small amounts of appropriate text, making it easier for the child with an ASD to understand the skill or behavior being re-enforced or learnt.
Many parents and teachers of autistic students use visual supports in autism to teach social skills and behaviors such as, asking questions, calming down, having a conversation, teaching about personal space, even hygiene issues can be tackled using autistic visual supports.
Probably the most significant autistic visual support being used are autistic social skills stories, these are generally written by experts and encompass all the right ingredients to help an child with an ASD learn social and communication skills and behaviors, as well as cope with routine changes.
Autistic social skills stories answer the appropriate “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what as well as “HOW” and give an insight into the thoughts and feelings of others which is an area of marked weakness in most autistic individuals.
It is recommended that autistic social skills stories are used to help children with autism spectrum disorder cope and manage behaviors, situations, events and skills they struggle with.
Autistic social skills stories help alleviate anxieties surrounding learning and carrying out social and communication skills. They can benefit the child with an ASD by showing them visually how, when, what and why.
Many teachers of autistic students use autistic social skills stories in the classroom with great affect.
To download or learn more about social stories visit the following sites: