Using visual support to teach hygiene in autism

Unlike typically developing children a child on the spectrum WILL NOT naturally develop self-care skills, and WILL NEED direct teaching.

Typically individuals with autism ARE visual thinkers and learners, which means that they think in pictures and WILL respond better to teaching materials and strategies which ARE VISUAL.

Using visual support to teach hygiene in autism is essential in most instances, typically developing youngsters will people watch and pick up on self-care skills, but children with autism DO NOT people watch and in most instances WILL NOT naturally learn self-care skills. A good social skills story can HELP the child on the spectrum learn essential hygiene skills.

For most individuals with autism hygiene can be confusing and in some cases even a painful experience! This is due to social skills deficits and sensory processing difficulties.

Social skills deficits ARE present in ALL individuals with autism, but to varying degrees dependant on where the individual is on the autism spectrum scale.

Using visual support to teach hygiene in autism is beneficial. Visual supports such as “social skills stories” ARE USED to HELP children with autism understand and deal with situations or skills that they find difficult or confusing like: puberty, washing their teeth, visiting a dentist and so on.

The social skills story answers the “wh” questions who, where, why, when and what as well as “HOW” and gives the young person with autism an insight into the thoughts, feelings and emotions of others, which is an area of marked weakness in those on the spectrum.

Social skills stories will normally be written in first person text and is always written from the point of view of the young person with autism.

No two people on the spectrum are ever going to be the same and we all use different terminology, therefore the social skills story needs to be editable and easy to tweak.

To learn more about social stories for hygiene in autism and to see an example of social stories for hygiene in autism visit:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/hygiene

Alternatively visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com

Learning self help hygiene skills in autism

For people with autism learning self help hygiene skills can sometimes be problematic. This is due to deficits in social skills which is a common symptom of autism. 

 

As typically developing individuals we naturally learn hygiene routines from watching our parents, our peers and from our environment etc., this is not the case for individuals with autism and direct teaching is necessary.

 

Typically people with autism have sensory processing issues also a common symptom of autism, having autism also affects the way individuals with autism process information, think, react also act and behave.

 

A child with ASD that has developed sufficient self-help skills is more likely to be integrated into a mainstream classroom, and less likely to be teased for inappropriate behaviours.

 

Research shows us that the majority of children with autism are visual thinkers and learners, meaning they think in pictures. Therefore any Intervention Strategies used for children with autism to provide information or instruction is generally better when presented visually.

 

For example Intervention Strategies which ARE visual such visual support cards, PECS, and social stories ARE USED with positive results. Probably the most popular Intervention Strategy for learning self help hygiene skills in autism is Social Stories.

 

Social stories are a tool for improving positive behaviours and skills in a child with ASD. A social skills story is a short descriptive explanation in visual format and first person text used as a visual plan or framework of a skill or behaviour that needs teaching or mastering.

 

A social skills story is much like a comic strip conversation. The social skills story breaks the skill into smaller easier to understand sections and should focus on the key social cues, answering 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 others.

 

Social Stories also provide the ASD individual with possible solutions and suggestions as well as showing them what others are expecting of them, as well as what the ASD individual can expect from others.

 

Learning self help hygiene skills in autism using Social Stories has proven effective. Developed twenty years ago social skills stories can be implemented to help with not only self help and hygiene skills but also other social or communication skills the ASD individual may be struggling with.

 

To find out more about social stories and how they may benefit people with autism visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com/hygiene

 

Alternatively other social stories can be found at:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/socialskills

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school

 

Looking at ways to teach self help skills in autism

Learning self help skills in autism is sometimes a difficult process. Autism is a developmental disorder which affects how an individual processes information, thinks, acts, reacts, communicates and behaves.

 

Mostly autism is diagnosed by the age of three, as soon autism is diagnosed parents can begin using treatments of autism such as Intervention Strategies which are put in place to help the child with autism learn skills and behaviours that they will otherwise struggle to understand and master. For example potty training, learning play skills, making friends, transitions and so on.

 

Intervention Strategies ARE used for autistic children, young people and adults and are generally written by experts, teachers and parents. There are various Intervention Strategies available which will help you teach self help skills in autism such as visual cards, flash cards, social stories, visual timetables and so on.

 

Looking at ways to teach self help skills in autism, one very popular Intervention strategy for teaching children with autism self help skills is Social Stories.

 

Social Stories are Intervention Strategies which were developed around twenty years ago to teach communication skills to children with autism spectrum disorder, today this popular Intervention strategy is widely used to teach social, communication and imagination skills and behaviours to children with autism spectrum disorder.

 

A social story should be visual generally most autistic children are visual thinkers and learners, which means they think in pictures, a bit like a movie script. This also means that the individual on the spectrum will probably not relate to written or spoken information and instruction in the same positive manner that they will respond to and understand visual picture or image information such as that in a social story.

 

The social skills story can help explain in visual format like a visual plan or framework and answer the “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what as well as “HOW” and give an insight into the thoughts, feelings and emotions of others this is a known weakness in autism.

 

Acting like a role model the social skills story will explain in detail using visual images and first person text the situation, skill or behaviour which is being addressed for example hygiene skills or self help skills and break the skill down into smaller easier to understand pieces focusing on the key points the visual cues, helping the individual on the spectrum better grasp what is expected of them and what they can expect from others.

 

So for example you want to teach self help skills in autism by implementing self help social stories for autism you can help the individual on the spectrum visually see what is happening giving them a chance to practise the skill, prepare for a change to routine, learn a new skill, prepare for a transition and so on, which will help reduce negative responses and behaviours as well as stress and confusion for all involved.

 

Social Stories are suitable for all on the spectrum, can be edited so you can add your own personal detail and terminology and are generally easy to alter so they can be used time and time again. Being easy to edit also means they are usable for all abilities and ages.

 

To learn more about how easy it is to implement and use social stories as well as find suitable downloads of self help social stories for autism visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com/hygiene

 

For other general Social Stories visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com

Visual supports in autism

Individuals with autism are often described as “visual learners” or “visual thinkers.” Which means they think in pictures, consequently autism resources need to be visual.

Research suggests greater success when parents and teachers use visual supports rather than oral or written supports and resources.

Such visual supports in autism resources as social skills stories, flash cards, visual schedules, PECS system etc. 

There are many aspects of an autistic child’s environment and everyday activities which will benefit from visual supports for autism.

Using social skills stories – Social stories are word and picture-based stories, much like a comic strip conversation, written to help the child with autism understand and feel more comfortable with skills, activities, communication and social situations.

Social stories are normally written in a specific manner, from the autistic child’s point of view and always using first person text and visual images. By answering the important “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what as well as giving an insight into how other people may feel or think.

Using visual schedules – Visual schedules are a set of pictures that communicate a series of activities or the steps of a specific activity. A visual schedule can help the child with autism understand and manage their daily activities, which reduces stress and anxiety.

Using visual supports in autism such as flash cards – A common problem for children with autism spectrum disorder is their ability to communicate. Flash cards are a strategy which can help to increase vocabulary, promote language development, and strengthen communication skills when teaching.

All of these strategies are useful for individuals with autism and related conditions.

To learn more about how social skills stories can benefit your child with an ASD and gain immediate downloads of social stories for autistic children visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com

Where you will find a selection of social skills stories for autistic children and young people

To learn more about visual supports in autism such as flash cards and visual schedules visit:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/visual.html

Where you will find a selection of flash cards available for visual schedules and as communication aids for ASD children

 

Other visual supports in autism can be found at: http://www.autismsocialstories.com/social_skills

 

 

Visiting the dentist with an autistic child

For many of us visiting the dentist is quite a scary thought which sparks an un-rational fear.  If parents have an un-rational fear, generally children will pick up on this and so the circle continues.


However this is not the case with autism, an autistic child will not generally pick up on their parents feelings and emotions. The ability to read facial expression and body language is missing in children with autism this is often referred to as the theory of mind.


So why for many parents is visiting the dentist with an autistic child so difficult?


Social skills deficits and sensory processing issues are common to autism. Autism is a developmental disability affecting an individual for life. Autism affects how the autistic individual thinks, acts, reacts, communication, imagination and how they process information.

 

Therefore looking at why visiting the dentist with an autistic child may be so difficult: The first consideration when taking an autistic child to the dentist many parents face is why do I need to see a dentist? This man or woman wearing a white coat, who expects them to lay in a chair with a bright light shining in their face, while they look into their mouth using strange equipment.


Although you yourself understand why it is important to have a regular check-up and keep your teeth and gums healthy. Your special needs child may not understand what healthy hygiene habits are, and indeed the importance of having healthy teeth and gums.


Finding autistic resources especially designed for autistic individuals that will help you explain the importance of dental check ups and healthy hygiene habits in autism can be difficult. But for many parents autistic resources such as social skills stories are useful for showing and explaining just these kinds of things.


So what do you need to be aware of when taking an autistic child to the dentist? Once you have actually got your child with autism in the dentist…


Your first hurdle could be the bright lights in the reception area, noise are their children waiting in the reception, other patients arriving, chatting, can you hear dentists treating other patients? Is there a buzzer or bell can you hear the receptionist on the phone while you’re waiting, all these small things can be anxiety triggers to children with autism.


Many autistic children are sensitive with sensory processing issues being common to autism. The mouth is one of the most sensitive areas on your body, so anything being put in or done to their mouth may cause an anxiety trigger for your special needs child.


The feel of the cold instrument entering their mouth, the drill sensation, the water spraying, the taste of the mouth wash or paste, all these things can be anxiety triggers to children with autism.


The feel of the dentist chair, the rubber gloves the dentist will wear, the bright light above their face, even the goggles they may be asked to wear are these coloured, if so this could also be an anxiety trigger for the ASD child.


Is the dentist wearing perfume or aftershave, the deodorant the nurse or dentist is wearing, the smell in the dentist room, even reception area, the lady opposite you waiting maybe she has perfume on that will trigger an anxiety attack for the ASD child all these things can have an affect when taking an autistic child to the dentist.


Maybe the dentist is not aware of the affects of autism and autistic sensory stimuli. Autism is growing in recognition but a lot of health professionals are still not aware of the affects of autism or autistic sensory stimuli and what they can do to help ease any anxieties.


As well as all these factors, probably the biggest factor of all is actually why…for many children with autism understanding why they are even there, why they need to let the dentist look in their mouth. Using social skills stories will help explain this before you even step foot through the dentists door.

 

It is always a good idea to speak with the dentist before taking your child along, explain the affects of autism, what autism is and how your autistic child reacts to certain sensory stimuli. Explain sensory processing issues and that your autistic child is sensitive to stimuli and how this can be helped while your ASD child is there.


For example is there a private waiting room away from the busy reception area. That could be quieter and less likely to trigger anxieties before they even get into the dentists treatment room.

 

Can the instruments be warmed under warm water before they are used in your child’s mouth can your special needs child bring their own sun glasses along to protect their eyes rather than wear the dental glasses.


That way you can introduce the sun glasses at home before the visit, giving your special needs child time to get used to them before the check up.

 

Do you have ear muffs that could block out the noise of the drill? Ask for the mouth rinse to be plain water.


All these things need consideration before visiting the dentist with an autistic child.


One excellent autistic resource you will need to implement especially before the dental visit is a social skills story. The social skills story can help explain why they need to visit the dentist and some of the things that will happen while they are there. Research shows many parents use social stories to help prepare an autistic child to visit the dentist.


Social skills stories will give your ASD child clear instructions and explanations as to what is happening, answering the “wh” questions –  who, where, why, when and what showing visually what is happening, what they can expect from others at the time, and what others will be expecting of them.

 

Armed with a social skills story and the other suggestions I have made you can help your autistic child cope adequately visiting the dentist. Social stories are an autistic resource that is used for helping a child with autism cope with many other skills, situations, activities and events that they will come across in their everyday lives, things we take for granted as “normal”. But to an autistic child can be distressing even frightening.


For a carefully planned and written Autism dentist social story visit http://www.autismsocialstories.com

 

Where you will find more information on social skills stories that will help your child with autism cope with and understand social situations they may be struggling with like for example Autism dentist social story

Social stories for getting a haircut,

Social stories for a hospital visit

Social stories for students and so on


Visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com and get downloads of 100 social skills stories.

Visual strategies for improving communication in autism

What are visual strategies?


Visual 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 difficulties with social interactions, communication, and imagination, language, in the classroom and in their behaviours.

 

Continuous research is undertaken into the causes and treatments for autism with conclusive results showing visual strategies for improving communication in autism help increase the understanding, social interaction and communication skills and behaviours of those on the spectrum.

 

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 treatments for autism chosen for 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 to increase the autistic child to understand what’s happening around them and why it is happening. Visual support tools 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, and are regarded as one of the major visual support tools used today for individuals with 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: http://www.autismsocialstories.com


Alternatively other sites which offer downloads and explanations of and uses for social stories, and how implementing social stories for your child with autism can help are located at:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/social_skills

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school

http://www.insideautisticminds.com

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/behavior

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/socialskills

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school_resources 

How to use visual strategies in autism

Generally children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and related conditions tend to be visual learners. They understand what they see (visual) much easier than what they hear (auditory) or read. Therefore, children with Autism Spectrum Disorder benefit significantly from the use of visual strategies.

 

By using visual strategies parents, care givers and teachers are able to address communication difficulties, helping the ASD child interact successfully with those around them.

 

For many children with Autism Spectrum Disorder interacting with their environment and those around them can prove stressful and confusing.  The ability to understand and read other people’s body language, facial expression and communications is missing in autism.

 

What are the communication difficulties in autism? Firstly the ASD child will be unable to express themselves effectively.  Secondly the ASD child will not understand social skills or cues they will struggle to understand what they are supposed to do or not do.  And can become confused and anxious about what is happening or not happening.

 

For many parents, care givers, teachers and other professionals learning how to use visual strategies in autism has proven beneficial.

 

There are many visual tools available for autism, but probable the most significant visual tools for autism are social stories and PECS cards or flash cards.

 

Learning how to use visual strategies in easy, no formal training is necessary. Visual tools such as social stories for autism can be downloaded, edited and printed to personalize them for your ASD child.

 

Social stories are short visual frameworks of a skill or behaviour that the child with ASD is struggling with. Much like a comic strip conversation, the social story is presented visually with appropriate text always in the first person and from the point of view of the child with ASD.

 

Following a set formula and normally written by experts a social story can be implemented easily and effectively helping communication difficulties and other social skills and behaviours.

 

To learn more about these valuable visual tools and to get downloads of social stories for autism visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com Here you will find information on how to use visual strategies in autism, as well as info on autism and social stories for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.

 

Other sites offering info on autism and social stories for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions can be found at:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school_resources

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/social_skills

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/behavior

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/preschool

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/hygiene