Autism is a lifelong neurological disorder, which is generally diagnosed before the child
reaches their third birthday.
What are the behaviour characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder…The main characteristics
of autism spectrum disorder are the individual’s deficits in social,
communication both verbal and non-verbal as well as imagination skills.
If you are the parent or teacher of a child on the autism spectrum and are looking for
methods and treatments for autism then read on…
There is “no cure for autism” but there are some very good methods and treatments for autism
which can have a massive impact on your child’s life and help them reach
his/her full potential, as well as deal with their social, communication and
imagination skills deficits.
Some of the treatments for autism available include:
Social Skills Stories
Visual support cards
For the purpose of this article we will be looking at social skills stories and visual support cards.
What are social skills stories?
So what are social skills stories – Quite often you will come across various names for
social skills stories like: autism social stories, social stories and so on,
but whatever you call them they are all relatively similar.
A social skills story will normally follow a formula first defined about twenty years
ago by therapist Carol Gray, to help her communicate with the autistic children
she was caring for. The formula consists of four sentence types
Social skills stories are used to help teach autistic children and adults to overcome
any social skills deficits.
Typically all individuals with an ASD will have deficits in social, communication and
imagination skills, this is a common symptom of autism.
For example a child on the spectrum may have difficulties with following social rules such
as sharing, taking turns, making friends, respecting personal space, having a
conversation, asking questions and so on. Using a social skills story will help
the child on the autism spectrum overcome their difficulties
A parent or teacher of a child on the spectrum can easily implement social stories to help
their child cope with even everyday life skills like using the bathroom and recess;
in-fact social stories have many uses.
What do social stories look like?
A social story is generally written in first person text, using appropriate language and
always from the autistic person’s point of view.
Typically autism social stories are visual.
Generally children with autism tend to be visual thinkers and learners, meaning they think in
pictures. Therefore it is beneficial to use visual intervention strategies such
as social stories.
Using images and text the social skills story acts as a role model or visual step by step plan
describing the situation or skill in terms of relevant social cues. Answering
the ever important “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what as well as “HOW”
and giving an insight in to the thoughts and feelings of others which is a
marked area of weakness in most children with autism.
Example of autism social story
Emily has difficulties with sharing and will display inappropriate behaviours and
So looking at an example of autism social story for Emily; Emily’s main problem is
tantrums when she does not get her own way…
Therefore we would start a story for Emily giving focus to the key points…
Line one: My name is Emily I am six years of age; (This is a descriptive sentence, it is
describing who the story is about in this case Emily).
A small image maybe added here or an actual photo showing Emily.
Line two: Every day I like to play with the toys in the classroom; (This is also descriptive,
it describes what Emily likes to do, in this case playing with the toys in the
Again another image or small photo of Emily is added. The image or photo could be of Emily in
the classroom playing with the toys etc.
And this is how the story is built up; the next two sentences would be perspective
Again with appropriate images or pictures, and slowly the story starts to take shape.
There is no need for any formal teaching to use social stories.
All autism social stories should be editable, we all use different terminology and no two
children are the same. Therefore it is really important that parents and
teachers are able to edit the social story to make it relevant to their own
child on the spectrum.
You can learn more about social stories and how they are used, as well as get downloads
of social skills stories visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com
Visual support cards
Another great autism resource is visual support cards. Similar to social stories the
visual support cards can help support social and communication deficits.
For example many children on the spectrum have difficulties with both verbal and non-verbal
communication, and many children on the spectrum will never develop speech.
The visual support card is used as a means of communication. Children with autism spectrum
have difficulties with communication and can become distressed and confused relatively
quickly. It is important to remember with children on the spectrum to speak
less and use other means of communication like visual intervention strategies
such as visual support cards.
A child with an ASD can use the visual support card to help them understand what is expected
of them as well as what they are expecting of others.
Teachers can use visual support cards on the student’s visual timetable, choices board even
around the classroom to label areas and objects like the toilet, pencil tray,
computers and so on helping the child with an ASD quickly identify what is
required, reducing anxiety and stress.
To learn more about visual support cards and see some examples visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com/visual_aids
For other methods and treatments for autism like autism social stories which can have a massive
impact on the lives of children with autism spectrum and help them reach his/her full potential visit: http://www.autismsocialstories