Probably one of the major roles a parent plays in their child’s development is teaching their child social skills. For example daily living skills like potty training, interaction skills like sharing, taking turns, and allowing others to talk without interrupting.
Typically developing children learn social and communication skills naturally by people watching, observing how those around them do things and handle social situations. We don’t really stop to consider how easily our typically developing children can master suitable age appropriate social and communication skills.
However this is not the case for a child with an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).
What are social skills deficits and how can you help your autistic child overcome them?
For a child with an ASD learning social and communication skills naturally is not easy, due to social skills deficits common to all individuals with autism.
Individuals with autism do not people watch and fail to recognise some nonverbal communication such as gestures and signs, for example waving goodbye, a thumb’s up or shhhhhh etc.
Generally children with autism spectrum disorder need direct teaching of social and communication skills and behaviours.
Consequently, parents are encouraged to help their autistic youngster learn appropriate social skills. Having social skills deficits may mean your child fails to recognise subtle cues, maybe unable to read body language or facial expression and misunderstand language such as wit, humour, jokes and slang etc…
So; social skills deficits how can you help your autistic child overcome them, many parents use visual supports for autism. This is mainly because children with autism spectrum disorder are normally visual thinkers and learners, meaning they think in pictures and images, which makes using visual supports for autism beneficial.
Therefore using visual supports for autism is going to help you teach your autistic youngster appropriate social and communication skills. There are various visual supports for autism available, but probably the best know and most affective are social skills stories.
A social skills story is a visual framework that is effective in teaching children with autism social and communication skills. A social skills story breaks the skills or situation down into relevant key points giving explanations of the “wh” questions - who, where, why, when and what as well as giving an insight into nonverbal communication such as the thoughts, feelings and emotions that may be felt by others.
By using visual images and first person text a social story allows the child on the spectrum to visually identify with the skill or situation making it predictable and routine. Individuals with autism prefer to stick rigidly to routines and can become stressed if routines are altered or changed, social skills stories are ideal for this, they can prepare the autistic child for upcoming changes.
Social skills stories follow specific patterns of sentence types, are editable and printable making them convenient and easy to use. The social skills story can be used to teach most social and communication skills. For example potty training, using a toilet, washing your hands, sharing, taking turns, respecting personal space, not interrupting, asking questions, making friends, even social situations like visiting the dentist etc..
By breaking the skill or situation down in to understandable pieces, removing all fluff and irrelevant material etc the social skills story can act as a role model or visual step by step plan allowing the child on the spectrum to feel more in control and comfortable. Removing all fear or dread of the unknown, the social story makes the skills or situation predictable just how a child on the spectrum likes things to be.
To learn more about social skills stories and how they are used to help teach social and communication skills to children with autism visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com
Where you will learn more aboutâ€¦what are social skills deficits and how can you help your autistic child overcome them as well as getting downloads of social skills stories used to teach social and communication skills to children with autism.