Posts Tagged ‘tools for autism’

Students with ASD social supports

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

The main characteristics of autism spectrum disorder ARE social awareness deficits, communication difficulties and imagination deficits, as well as some sensory processing issues and obsessive behaviours.

Typically most children on the spectrum ARE visual thinkers and learners, this meas that they think in pictures/images and tend to use speech/language as a secondary tool.

So how CAN this knowledge help us with finding students with ASD social supports?

There ARE a wide variety of supports and tools for autism spectrum disorder, typically the most significant supports and tools for autism WILL be those which ARE visual, for example, PECS, communication picture cards (flash cards), social skills stories and visual social story cards.

For many students with ASD school can be confusing at times and quite chaotic. Typically children on the spectrum like set patterns and routines and WILL dislike any changes to routines or suprises, they WILL PREFER things to remain on an even level.

Therefore most students with autism WILL find particular times of the school day such as recess, break time, PE etc confusing. Using social supports like social stories and communication picture cards CAN help them to cope with and be more setteled during these times of the day.

Social stories ARE short descriptive stories relating to a skill, activity, event, behaviour etc that the child with autism spectrum disorder finds difficult. The social story can act like a visual framework or step by step plan detailing visually what is happening and expected of them.

Social stories and communication picture cards ARE excellent supports and tools for autism to use in and around the classroom and school, they ARE also excellent for at home and ALL other areas the child with autism finds difficult. Using first person text, always from the perspective of the child, the social story uses images/pictures to describe the situtation or skill in a manner the student with autism can better understand.

To learn mre about social stories and picture communication cards visit:
Alternativelly visit:

Communication difficulties in child with autism

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Common to individuals with autism are social skills deficits. Having social skills deficits can make communication difficult for a child with autism.

As typical beings we communicate both verbally and non-verbally daily. Communication is a major skill, we naturally learn. For individuals with autism however the ability to communicate is affected, having ASD can make an individual react and interact in a very different manner to typically developing beings.

For a child with an ASD expressing their needs or wants, can quite often be misunderstood. For example: In the classroom; A child with autism may not typically ask for a drink when they are thirsty, they may for example snatch the drink from another person, simply take the drink without asking or maybe they will shout out etc., this is typical to autism.


Normally all adverse autistic behaviour will happen for a reason an internal or external factor, not simply out of mischief or the desire to be awkward or naughty.

Research shows us autistic children are generally visual thinkers and learners, which means they think in pictures. Therefore when teaching or caring for a child with autism it is usually best to use visual tools and supports when you are trying to get information across or tackle an adverse autistic behaviour. 


Research shows a child with autism will be less confused when the information presented to them is visual.

Understandably many teachers especially those teaching in mainstream education are little prepared to teach a child with autism. The English language is predominantly verbal, and this is the main focus in mainstream education. However with an autistic student this method of teaching is not always going to be affective.

With a poor attention span and communication difficulties with both verbal and non-verbal communication the autistic student may struggle with lessons which are primarily verbal or written.

A lack social skills and communication difficulties can make it problematic for autistic children to make and maintain friendships, and generally “fit in” socially.

Using visual support tools for autism such as social stories; WILL help to improve communication difficulties in a child with autism.

Using visual supports tools for autism within the classroom and at home can help the child with an ASD focus on the skill or situation that they are struggling with. A social skills story can show the child with an ASD a visual step by step plan or framework of what is expected of them and what they can expect from others.

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

Developed almost twenty years ago by therapist Carol Gray to help her communicate with the autistic children she was working with, the social story has now evolved into a significant tool used by parents and teachers to help them improve communication difficulties and social skills in their child with autism.

To find out more about social stories and how they help improve communication difficulties in a child with autism visit:

Other sites offering social stories to improve social and communication skills for the autistic student can be found at:

Visual strategies for improving communication in children on the autism spectrum

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

For children on the autism spectrum communication difficulties are common. Research suggests that the vast majority of children on the autism spectrum find visual information easier to understand than the spoken word.

Consequently, tools for autism such as visual supports cards and social skills stories are used more effectively for teaching and improving communication in children on the autism spectrum.

It is a fact that visual strategies work best with children on the spectrum. Therefore parents, teachers and other professionals use tools for autism like social skills stories to help address communication difficulties such as asking questions, having a good conversation, calming down and so on.

Social skills stories work well because they are visual, short pieces of first person text in specific patterns of sentence types. Which show by answering the important “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what as well as giving an insight into the thoughts, feelings and emotions of others.

A common issue in children with autism is their inability to process information in the typical manner. This inability to process information in many cases can lead to communication difficulties as well as social blunders.

A typically developing child naturally learns social and communication skills and the ability to read another’s body language and facial expression. Without this ability many children with autism can misread situations and cause harm or hurt feelings without that intention.

Visual strategies for improving communication in children on the autism spectrum like social stories can be downloaded from:

By implementing visual strategies such as visual support cards and social skills stories you can teach your child with autism social, communication, imagination skills and behaviours as well as address sensory processing issues that are common to autism, like visiting a dentist, tooth brushing, getting a haircut and so on. Social stories are one of the major tools for autism used today, they are editable, can be personalized and printed for ease of use and convenience.

Learn more about visual strategies for improving communication in children on the autism spectrum like visual supports cards from: