Posts Tagged ‘parents of kids with autism’

What is it like to be autistic?

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

There are very few physical signs of autism spectrum disorder. So what is it like to be autistic? Imagine being left in a foreign country alone, unable to speak the language, unable to read the signs or gestures of others. Your senses have become super sensitive, and you have nowhere to turn to for help.

This is how the world appears for many autistic children. Our ever changing and fast moving world can trigger anxiety attacks, confusion and stress for those with autism spectrum disorder.

Parents of autistic children report anxieties. Although autism is being diagnosed more frequently with 1:4 being diagnosed autistic, still there is not a lot of information on autism. Parents of autistic children report difficulties such as having to get used to people thinking you are a bad parent that cannot control their child. Parents of kids with autism also report problems from doctors calling them an over-anxious parent, family members dismissing their child as a spoilt brat. Parents of kids with autism also find difficulties with friends, being shunned and not included in events because of their autistic child’s behaviours.

Having a child diagnosed autistic is not going to be easy, experts agree early intervention is beneficial.


Parents of kids with autism also agree that visual supports are a good idea, such as visual support cards, schedules, social stories and PECS communication systems.

All designed to help children with autism cope in an ever changing and confusing world. Generally children with autism are visual thinkers and learners meaning they think in images or pictures and will gain more help from visual strategies rather than spoken or text.


Implementing visual strategies can benefit children with autism greatly. For example many children with an ASD struggle with simple tasks such as tooth brushing, introducing social stories can help with this.

Social stories are short specific visual strategies, pieces of text which use visual images to describe a situation or skills in terms of the relevant social cues. Using first person language with no frills, following a specific pattern social stories are visual strategies that are used to teach and re-enforce social and communication skills as well as give clear coping strategies for sensory processing issues and behaviour difficulties.

Much like a visual plan or role model a social skills story can answer the “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what as well as give an insight into the thoughts and feelings of those around them.

So for example a social skills story for tooth brushing can teach children with an ASD why it is important to brush your teeth, how to brush your teeth and what the consequence of not brushing your teeth might be.

Teachers and parents with ASD children do not need any formal training to use social skills stories, they can be printed, personalized and edited to make them easy to implement and convenient.


ASD children respond well to visual strategies such as social skills stories, visual support cards, schedules and PECS.

For more information on visual supports such as social stories visit:

Or for more information on visual support cards visit: