Many parents ofteenagers with autism worry that their teen will not “fit in”. Typically a teen with autism will find difficulties mastering hygiene skills and routines, especially surrounding puberty, such as autistic girls and menstruation.
Hygiene skills are essential life skills but for a teen with autism developing healthy hygiene habits can be challenging, therefore direct teaching of healthy hygiene habits in autism is essential.
For many parents of teenagers with autism puberty can be very stressful, parents look for ways to explain puberty and teach healthy hygiene habits and routines in autism. Parents consequently find autistic supports such as autistic social skills stories, perfect for helping them deal with this challenging period in their child’s life.
Autistic Social skills stories were first developed as a means of communication, today autistic social skills stories are used more widely to teach social, imagination and communication skills and behaviours as well as a means of communication.
Using appropriate language and visual images, social stories are used as autistic supports for individuals with an ASD and related conditions. The autistic social skills story provides the adolescent on the spectrum with a role model of exactly how to master the situation or skill.
The autistic social skills story answers the “wh” questions ~ who, where, why, what and when as well as giving an insight into the thoughts, emotions and feelings of others.Concentrating on the main key points and cutting out all the frills the adolescent on the autistic spectrum will be able to see more clearly what is expected of them as well as what to expect from others, helping to relieve anxieties and make the teen with autism more comfortable with and in the situation.
Consequently many parents now use autistic social skills stories to tackle healthy hygiene routines in teenagers with autism.
Parents of teens with autism implement autistic social skills stories to help with autistic hygiene issues such as:
● autism and going to the bathroom
● puberty and autistic girls
● autistic teenage hygiene ~ using deodorant
● autistic girls and menstruation
● taking a shower
● taking a bath
As well as a means to tackle healthy hygiene routines in teenagers with autism, autistic social stories also help toteach other skills and behaviours and promote a healthy lifestyle.
People with autism like routines and things to remain the same. They prefer structure and dislike any changes to their daily routine.
Hygiene is a social skill that a normally developing person will learn as they grow from their environment, peers and family. However with autism the skill is not learnt naturally.
People with autism do not care what others think of them, or understand little jibes like “phew what’s that smell”.
They lack the ability to “mind read” they do not understand facial expressions and lack the ability to read a persons body language. Social skills like hygiene need to be taught directly.
Healthy hygiene habits in autism can be taught and re-enforced using visual prompts.
People with autism are visual learners and respond better to visual cues rather than the written or spoken word.
They have trouble understanding our world and can become anxious and sometimes aggressive when they fail to understand what is expected of them.
For example Healthy hygiene habits in autism, we understand the need to brush our teeth, take regular dental check up’s, shower, wash our hands and how to use the toilet appropriately
…All natural hygiene habits we learn through experience and watching, to an autistic person these naturally required skills need to be learned.
That’s where autism social skills stories help; they give the autistic individual instruction, cues and answers to what, where why and when, helping to teach the autistic individual the importance of healthy hygiene habits.
For example during the teenage years the autistic individual will begin to go through puberty, they will sweat and need to take care of their personal hygiene. A social skills story can explain why they are going through puberty the changes they can expect and how they will be expected to act and react to situations and circumstances that are in some cases out of their individual control.
They may not understand the need for a regular dental check up’s; all habits we naturally acquire and accept, however to an autistic person sometimes these things are confusing and in some cases will cause actual pain and anxiety.
Autistic individuals are sensitive to light, sound, touch and smell, which in some cases can make healthy hygiene habits difficult to master.
Again autism social skills stories can help them to overcome their fears and anxieties by giving them pictorial support and cues, showing what is happening and why. Then giving the autistic individual coping strategies and instruction on how to perform the task or deal with the activity or situation.
Like for example brushing their teeth, why we do this, what the outcome of not brushing your teeth could be, as well as how to brush their teeth…resulting in good oral hygiene and less cavities.
To help autistic individuals gain healthy hygiene habits and gain Healthy hygiene habits in autism use autism social skills stories.
Download autism social skills stories for Healthy hygiene habits in autism like good hygiene habits and other social skills stories from
Autism social skills stories can be used as a tool for inspiring positive behaviours in children with ASD (autism spectrum disorder).
Using autism social skills stories as a plan does not need any formal training, parents, care givers, teachers, teacher’s assistants and so on can use autism social skills stories effectively as a means of inspiring positive behaviours as well as helping to improve social and communication skills.
Research suggests that autism social skills stories are a major proactive behaviour intervention that provides a positive approach in encouraging appropriate social behaviours.
A social story is a short story written in first person language from the ASD individual’s point of view.
We know that children with ASD tend to be visual thinkers and learners. Consequently, the social story was designed to encompass this. Developed twenty years ago as a means of communication, the social story has now evolved into a major intervention strategy in autism.
Studies show inspiring positive behaviour using autism social skills stories has proven very effective and their use has grown dramatically over the last twenty years.
Research also suggests that autism social skills stories have been proven to reduce inappropriate behaviours, for example tantrums, inappropriate vocalizations, as well as reduce social isolation.
Encouraging positive behaviour using autism social skills stories is also beneficial in helping children with ASD understand and learn skills such as sharing, making friends, taking turn, respecting personal space and so on.
Autism social skills stories are user friendly, easy to implement and require no formal training to use. Using visual images and accurate no frill text a social story is much like a visual framework of the skill or behaviour that the ASD individual’s struggling to master, understand, cope with or that needs encouraging.
Autism social skills stories are available over the internet, written by experts that can be downloaded, printed and edited to suit all individuals with autism spectrum disorder.
Looking at Communication Difficulties in Autism – USING VISUAL SUPPORTS
Children with autism have difficulties with communication skills, and will often not develop effective communication . It is believed that up to 50% of children with autism spectrum will NOT develop speech, while others will develop speech slowly.
When we think of speech we are thinking of the body of words and the formation of sounds, as well as the structure and forms used to allow speech.
However with communication this can be either verbally through speech or non-verbally through gestures, signs and pointing to printed words or symbols.
Typically children with autism spectrum WILL struggle with all forms of communication verbal and non-verbal and will use speech as a secondary language. Children with autism spectrum ARE generally VISUAL thinkers this means that they
think in pictures / images, this is their first language.
It is therefore beneficial for teacher and parents to consider visual information as a means of communication and use speech / words less. Visual communication supports for autism can be in many forms – social stories, visual social story cards,
PECS, flash cards, visual timetables and so on.
As children develop they begin to explore their environment and learn cause and affect – for example a thirsty child may point to his cup, a tired child may raise their arms to be picked up, this is cause and affect. This inquisitiveness for exploration to learn this cause and affect is typically missing in children with autism.
By the time a non-verbal autistic child starts school chances are they will already have been seen by a speech therapist. In many cases it will be necessary for the autistic child to learn a new form of communication – a child that screams and tantrums to
get what they need is not going to “fit in” at school. A new means of communication will be needed to control the need for the screaming – for example visual communication supports for autism such as visual social story cards, PECS and flash cards can be introduced.
Visual social story cards are small laminated cards approx. 8cm by 11cm that can be introduced to help the child learn new skills or understand behaviours that they find difficult to master, for example break time, using the potty, time out and so on.
The social story cards are short visual stories much like a comic script that are used as a visual plan or framework of the skill or behaviour, always from the autistic child’s own perspective and in first person text. The social story cards will describe the skill or behaviour and give possible outcomes.
Visual social story cards answer the “wh” questions – who, what, why, when and where as well as “HOW” and provide an insight into how others may be feeling, which is an area of marked weakness in most autistic children.
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:
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.Â
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 â€œwhâ€ questions – who, where, why, when and what as well as â€œHOWâ€ 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.
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 â€œwhâ€ questions â€“ who, where, why, when and what as well as â€œHOWâ€ 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.
Learning self help skills such as: eating, dressing, toileting, and personal hygiene can be challenging for people with autism, but are essential for independence.
Teaching self help skills can help a child with autism become less dependent on those around him, and reduce stress and anxieties.
Children on the autism spectrum often have poor fine motor skills this can make some self help skills difficult to master such as doing buttons.
Parents should initiate self help skills as it is unlikely a child with autism will dress independently in anticipation of any praise. However if your child with autism feels more comfortable doing things themselves then allow them to do so.
For many parents and teachers of children on the spectrum visual strategies which teach self help skills in autism ARE proving beneficial.
Such visual strategies as social skills stories, PECS and flash cards can help children on the spectrum reach independence in self help and hygiene skills and routines.
Many children with autism also have sensory processing issues and find tasks such as tooth brushing, visiting a dentist, getting a haircut and trying new foods problematic, causing anxieties and in many cases meltdowns.
By implementing visual strategies such as social skills stories and flash cards parents can help their ASD child learn skills and behaviours that they are finding hard to understand or master.
Social skills stories are visual strategies which ARE used widely to teach autism social skills and behaviours.
Using visual images or pictures the social skills story breaks the skill or behaviour down into smaller pieces visually showing the steps necessary to complete the task, reducing any anxiety of the unknown, helping the ASD child feel more in control and comfortable.
Using first person text in a manner easily understood by the autistic person the social skills story acts as a role model or visual plan of the skill. The social skills story answers the ever important “wh” questions – who, where, why, when, what and “HOW” as well as giving an insight into the thoughts and feeling of others.
To learn more about how social stories for self help skills can help an autistic person learn skills and behaviours they find difficult and frustrating visit sites such as:http://www.autismsocialstories.com/hygiene
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:
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 dentistâ€¦
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 whyâ€¦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.
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
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 forimproving 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:
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: