Nuturing social skills in autistic children

Social skills can be hard to understand for many children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), with many parents find it difficult to teach every day social and communication skills.

 

Cosequently, social skills stories have become an excellent tool for teaching many essential and non-essential life-skills. Research suggests that parents feel that teaching a child with autism social and communication skills is a primary focus.

 

For students with autism “fitting in” to mainstream classrooms can be challenging! An autistic student displaying social skills deficits will probably find it hard in a mainstream classroom unless he/she is taught appropriate social and communication skills. Research suggests that successes in teaching an autistic student social skills can increase self-confidence and understanding as well as boost the autistic student’s attention span and general behaviour within the classroom, which can all help the student with autism reach his or her full potential.

 

We can conclude from researc and studies into Autism Spectrum Disorder  that nurturing social skills in autistic children is beneficial in helping the child to “fit in” socially and reducing anxiety and stress.

 

Originally social skills stories were developed to help with communication difficulties in children with ASD. However, today they are used more widely as a strategy in teaching autistic children social and communication skills thus addressing their social skills deficits.

 

A social skills story can act as a role model, showing and the skill or situation being addressed in smaller easier to understand pieces. This is a proven strategy in teaching autistic children. A social story is a short descriptive story describing using images and text a particular social skill being acted out (modelled).

 

The social skills story shows the skill from the child’s point of view in small easy to follow pieces. Using visual images the social skills story shows a step by step plan answering the “wh” questions (who, where, why, when and what and HOW) as well as giving an insight into the thoughts and feelings of others, much like reading a script of the skill, this is allowing the child with autism to rehearse the skill.

 

A social skills story can also be used to help with transitions, changes to routines and other less common situations. Using the same formula social skills stories will help parents and teachers nurturing social skills in autistic children effectively.

 

To learn more about how social stories help children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to  learn social and communication skills visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school

Children with ASD need social skills

Research indicates that social impairments ARE a common symptom of autism, and that all individuals with autism will have social impairments of varying degrees dependant on their own personal level of ability.

 

Commonly, all children with ASD struggle with social skills and need direct teaching using Intervention Strategies designed specifically for this.

 

Typically developing children learn social skills and behaviours naturally through watching and copying their peers and parents and directly from their environment etc.

 

Children with ASD need social skills teaching; they will not naturally mimic or interpret and learn social or communication skills. A child with an ASD will have difficulties following instruction unless the instruction or information is presented in a manner which they can readily understand.

 

We know that the vast majority of children with ASD are in-fact VISUAL THINKERS AND LEARNERS. This means that they think in pictures a bit like a movie script playing, and will not easily understand information that is written or spoken.

 

Consequently, appropriate Intervention Strategies ARE needed which ARE visual, such as PECS, Flash cards and social stories.

 

Unlike typically developing children a child with an ASD will not readily accept changes or transition and can become stressed and overwhelmed by tasks, skills and activities the rest of us think of as “everyday” or “normal”, like for example brushing your teeth, visiting a dentist, getting a haircut, recess, respecting personal space, making friends and so on.

 

Social Stories ARE perfect Intervention Strategies which were first introduced by therapist Carol Gray twenty years ago to help her communicate with the autistic children she was working with. Today Social Stories ARE used not only to HELP autistic children master communication skills both verbal and non-verbal but also to HELP children on the spectrum learn new skills, cope with changes to routines, transitions and encourage positive behaviours.

 

Social Stories USE visual images LIKE A VISUAL PLAN OR ROLE MODEL to describe a situation or skill in terms of relevant “social cues”, like a comic script conversation.

 

A social skills story is normally written in first person text and in a manner that children on the spectrum WILL BETTER understand.

 

Social stories break the skill down in to smaller sections the relevant “social cues” removing the fluff and un-necessary language, in a set formula of 4 main sentence types: Descriptive, Perspective, Directive and Control sentences.

 

Intervention Strategies such as a social skills story should answer the important “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what as well as “HOW” and give an insight into the thoughts, feelings and emotions of those around them, which WILL HELP to reduce stress and confusion.

 

For example a social skills story written to help explain the need to brush your teeth would explain visually and with first person relevant text the “wh” questions why and how as well as what the consequence of not brushing would be – tooth ache etc. This story may start something like this:

 

It is important that I brush my teeth twice a day, I can brush them every morning and before I go to bed at night. 

AND SO ON…

To learn more about HOW YOU CAN HELP Children with ASD need social skills teaching USING methods like social stories visit sites such as: http://www.autismsocialstories.com

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/social_skills

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/hygiene

Social stories for autistic kids

Deficits with social skills are common to autism. This means for many autistic kids problems with social interactions, communication difficulties and a distinct lack of imaginative skills. And unlike their typically developing peers the natural ability to “read people” and learn appropriate and essential life skills is missing meaning these skills are needed to be taught directly.

 

Therefore intervention strategies ARE implemented to help parents, care givers, teachers and other professionals teach and encourage their child on the spectrum to learn and use appropriate social, communication and imagination skills and behaviours.

 

Also common to autism are sensory processing issues, meaning the child on the spectrum may be either hyper or hypo sensitive and need help with this problem.

 

Social stories for autistic kids are used to help address deficits with social, communication and imagination skills and help with sensory processing issues.

 

Using intervention strategies like social stories has proven effective in many cases and is now one of the major autism resources used for helping autistic kids.

 

Social skills stories ARE short descriptive almost comic script like stories, using visual images to tell the child with autism how to deal with a certain situation or skill that they are struggling with.

 

For example tooth brushing, for many autistic kids this skill is difficult to master, the cold water, feel of the tooth brush and taste of the tooth paste can in many cases, due to sensory processing issues cause discomfort, anxiety and stress.

 

By implementing social skills stories you can show your child with autism the consequence of not brushing as well as the positive affects of brushing as well as explain the “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what and give an insight into the thoughts feelings and emotions of others as well as what’s  involved in and with this skill.

 

The vast majority of children with an ASD are visual thinkers and learners, meaning they think in pictures, this makes social stories an ideal intervention strategy as the stories are visual using images and pictures.

 

Social stories for autistic kids use visual images to show the skill, by breaking it into smaller sections, using first person language, following a set formula and in a manner the child on the spectrum will be able to understand.

 

Most social stories are editable, this is because no two children with an ASD are ever the same and we all use different terminology with our children, therefore parents or teachers are able to edit the social skills story to make the terminology relevant and personalize if this is needed.

 

Social stories for autistic kids can act as a role model or visual plan helping to teach the child with autism. Social stories can also be used to help with transitions, changes to routines, events, activities and inappropriate behaviours.

 

To learn more bout how a social skills story could help your child with autism address deficits in social, communication and imagination skills visit any of the following sites:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/hygiene

http://www.insideautisticminds.com