Posts Tagged ‘communication skills’

Visual strategies for developing better communication for children with autism

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

What are visual strategies?

developing better communication for children with autism,visual strategiesVisual strategies are things we see.
Facial and body movements, gestures, pictures, images and objects, environmental cues and written language these are all used as visual strategies that help support our communication. The world we live in is full of visual information such as a calendar, diary, clocks, signs, logos and so on all of which are used by us daily and support our communication. Without these visual strategies our lives would be confusing.

One of the major difficulties faced by children with autism is a lack of communication skills. A child on the spectrum will almost certainly have deficits with social interactions, communication skills and imagination skills.

A lack of communication skills is a problem faced by all children with autism and is normally the main reason the child on the spectrum finds it hard to interact socially with their peers and others.

Continuous research is undertaken into the causes and treatments for autism with conclusive results showing visual strategies for developing better communication for children with autism can help increase their understanding, social interactions and communication skills and behaviours.

Generally an individual on the spectrum will be a visual thinker and learner, which means that the individual on the spectrum will think in pictures and images, and will therefore respond and understand information easier, when it is presented visually rather than written or oral.

Therefore it is important that when teaching an individual on the spectrum communication skills the teaching be visually presented, using visual strategies.

Visual strategies for improving communication in autism such as social stories, PECS, flash cards, visual schedules etc can all be used as appropriate and effective methods for teaching an individual on the spectrum communication skills.

For children with autism it is not just the struggle with using language that hinders them but also understanding language and communication can be a difficulty. Children with autism lack the ability to understand the communication of others, trying to figure out what is happening or not happening, handling changes and transitions, and interpreting cues and signals in the environment can prove difficult and result in frustration and behaviour that is seen as negative.

Using visual support tools can help the autistic child understand what’s happening around them and why it is happening. Visual supports are a good structure that can be used to help support and teach an individual autistic child daily and not so common tasks, behaviours and skills.

Social stories are visual strategies for improving communication in autism, they can be used for a variety of issues, they can be edited to suit individual needs and levels of development, social stories are printable for ease of use and convenience and can be implemented quickly and effectively.

To learn more about how implementing social stories can help you teach social and communication skills and behaviours to your child with autism visit:

Alternatively other sites which offer downloads and explanations on the uses and implementation of social stories for your child with autism can be located at:

Children with ASD need social skills

Friday, December 10th, 2010

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. 


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