As typically developing beings we naturally learn through our senses (sight, sound, touch, taste and smell) as well as watching our peers and family how to interact with the world around us this is called the theory of mind
For those individuals on the autism spectrum this ability to naturally learn social and communication skills is missing, this is called and common in all individuals with autism. For individuals on the autism spectrum learning social and communication skills needs to be done directly.
Many parents and teachers of children with autism have found that by using visual supports for autism such as social stories and visual support cards, they can help encourage and teach daily living skills in children with autism.
Generally children with autism are visual thinkers and learners and will respond to information when it is presented visually rather than written text or orally, therefore parents and teachers of children with autism use visual supports for autism.
Social stories help improve social, communication, interaction and imagination skills and behaviours. Developed around twenty years ago as a method of communication the social story is one of the most significant treatments used in encouraging and teaching daily living skills in children with autism.
Social stories provide an autistic individual with accurate information about the skill or situation that they are finding difficult or confusing.
The social story describes in detail giving focus to the key points the skill or behavior, using visual images as key social cues the ASD individual can easily relate to the situation or skill. Rather like using a visual plan they can follow a step by step framework making them feel more comfortable with and in the situation.
The social story can be used to encourage and teach daily living skills for children with autism such as: personal hygiene, play skills, taking turns, sharing, personal space. The social story works well in school allowing the student with autism to understand school rules feel more comfortable at recess etc.
Social Stories attempt to address the theory of mind or social skills deficits that are displayed by all children with autism, by giving the ASD individual some perspective on the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors of those around them.
To learn more about social stories and how they might help your child with autism visit any of the following sites were you will find appropriate social stories for download.