Improving social skills in children with autism

One of the significant difficulties for children with autism is their lack of social skills. Treatments available that help with improving social skills in children with autism include strategies such as social stories.

Social skills deficits are common in children on the spectrum, being able to read another person’s body language, tone of voice or facial expression is not a naturally learnt skill for those with autism, these skills need direct teaching.

This lack of social knowledge can lead to social blunders for even the highest functioning children on the spectrum. Without even knowing why, the child with autism can cause upset, ask inappropriate questions, act oddly and generally leave themselves open to taunts and teasing.

Teaching a child with autism how to improve their social skills especially if they are being schooled in mainstream education is almost certainly a necessity.

For many parents with an autistic child improving their child’s social skills is paramount and for this reason many parents with an autistic child turn to therapies and treatments that are readily available such as social stories. Also used in schools, colleges and the community social stories have evolved into one of the major tools in helping young people with autism improve their social and communication skills effectively.

The social story aims to improve social and communication skills in young people with autism, by using visual images in the form of a short story.  Much like a comic strip conversation, that helps the young person with autism interpret the situation or skill, in a manner that they can understand.

A social story follows a specific style or format, a visual framework. That describes the skill or situation in terms of the relevant social cues, the key points, the perspective of others and will suggest some possible responses and possible responses that others may expect from the young person with autism.

The social story answers the “wh” questions (who, where, why, when and what) helping to make the child with autism more comfortable with and in the situation.

The social story breaks down the skill or situation into small bite sized chinks with relevant visual images giving the child on the spectrum the relative information they need to address the skill or situation in a positive manner. By improving social skills in children with autism, social stories help address the child’s social skills deficits helping the “fit in” with their peers, relieving some confusion, anxieties and stress.

To learn more about social stories and download appropriate social stories for children on the spectrum visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com

Alternatively other sites offering social stories for children on the spectrum can be found at:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/social_skills