Autism Visual Supports

Commonly the vast majority of children with autism WILL struggle with the everyday tasks and skills that a typically developing individual will have NO PROBLEMS with, like for example making friends, asking questions appropriately, joining in play and so on.

It’s mainly due to the individuals social skills deficits which ARE common to ALL with Autism Spectrum Disorder and in many cases sensory processing issues that many children with autism have difficulties with otherwise “normal” skills and behaviours.

It is therefore recommended that using autism visual supports CAN be beneficial. Autism visual supports are designed specifically to help overcome some of the difficulties many children and young people with autism face daily.

Recent autism treatment research suggests that autism visual supports like visual support cards, social stories, PECS communication boards and visual schedules all HAVE a large part to play in the treatment and development of social and communication skills for many autistic kids.

Parents CAN NOW find sites offering autism visual supports which ARE run by parents and professionals that offer support and other autistic resources.

Sites which offer autistic resources can be found easily using search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing and through Directories.

The World CAN be a very confusing place to a child on the spectrum,   many of the everyday skills we take for granted  a child with autism CAN FIND difficult and stressful.

Typically many families with an autistic child can find even supposedly fun activities like visiting relatives, a trip to the shop, supermarket, buying new clothes can be difficult when you have a child on the autism spectrum.

Help, is what most families with an autistic child need as well as trusted supports that have been proven to work.  

Help such as social stories ARE beneficial. What are social stories?

Probably the most significant autism visual supports ARE social stories. A social story is much like a role model or visual plan used to describe a skill or situation in terms of relevant social cues and prompts.

Today social stories are EASY TO IMPLEMENT need no formal training to use and can be edited to suit all terminology and autistic kids no matter where on the spectrum scale they fall.

As one of the major autistic resources used to help teach, support and HELP individuals with autism to overcome social skills deficits social skills stories ARE available to download TODAY from sites like http://www.autismsocialstories.com

A social skills story will answer the important “wh” questions –  who, where, why, when and what as well as “HOW” and give an insight into the thoughts, emotions and nonverbal communications of others helping the autistic child get a handle on the skill or situation which can reduce tantrums, meltdowns and general stress for everyone.

So for example if the family want to visit Granny introducing a social skills story can help describe to the child with autism exactly what to expect reducing anxiety and what is expected of them reducing stress. The social skills story is editable, can be personalized, printed for convenience and is portable so can be popped into a bag making it an ideal autistic support.

Sites which offer IMMEDIATE ACCESS to autism visual supports like social stories and visual support cards for a minimal fee like: http://www.autismsocialstories.com  are run by experts, offer social stories and support to families and individuals with autism.

ASD in children

ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is a neurological disorder which affects more boys than girls. Generally ASD is diagnosed before a child reaches three years of age.

ASD in children will typically affect how the child interacts, behaves and communicates with others. This is commonly known as the Triad of Autistic Impairments or social skills deficits and will affect all children with an ASD, in varying degrees.

The Triad of Autistic Impairments are typical to Autism Spectrum Disorder and can be treated with intervention strategies designed to help children with an ASD overcome their social skills deficits.

Intervention strategies like social skills stories, PECS and visual support cards are commonly used to help the ASD child understand and cope with situations and skills that they are struggling with or find stressful, like for example recess, asking questions and making friends.

Social stories were first introduced around twenty years ago by therapist Carol Grey as a means of communication with the children she was working.

Social skills stories comprise of four sentence types; Perspective, Directive, Descriptive and control and will generally follow a set formula.

Typically for the ASD child social skills stories answer the “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what as well as “HOW” and give an insight into the thoughts and feelings of others which is an area of marked weakness in children with an ASD.

No two autistic kids will ever be the same, and we all use different terminology, therefore most social skills stories are written in word format which means that they are easy to edit.

Generally most autistic kids are visual thinkers and learners, which means that they think in pictures. It is therefore important to use visual supports like social skills stories, PECS and visual support cards.

ASD in children is not cure-able but by using visual supports like social skills stories YOU will find teaching an ASD child social skills can be considerably improved.

Social skills stories use first person text and visual images in a manner that all kids with autism will find easy to understand. A social skills story can act as a role model or visual step by step plan.

Parents, caregivers, teachers and assistants can use any social skills story without any formal training. They can be downloaded, edited, printed and implemented easily and for most situations and skills the child is struggling with.

To learn more teaching an ASD child social skills using social stories visit: www.autismsocialstories.com where you will find social stories to download.

 

Autism Spectrum Syndrome disability

Autism Spectrum Syndrome disability

 

Autism Spectrum Syndrome disability is unfortunately misunderstood. The term autism spectrum disorder is an umbrella term used to cover a wide range of conditions. It is believed that around 25% of people with ASD will have accompanying learning disabilities.  Regardless of functioning, typically all people with an Autism Spectrum Syndrome disability will almost certainly have difficulties with social skills, imagination skills, behaviors and display communication difficulties, this is often called the triad of autistic impairments or social skills deficits.

 

Autism Spectrum Syndrome is a life-long condition that is either present from birth or from early childhood.

Listed below are a few of the autism characteristics that may be present in children with autism. However, typically those with high functioning autism or Asperger syndrome may only display a few of the autism characteristics listed behaviors while others on the lower end of the autism scale may display all the behaviors.

Having Autism Spectrum Disorder can mean:

  • Being unable to cope appropriately with social situations.
  • Self-stimulating behavior, often referred to as “stimming” this can include behaviors such as: flicking fingers, flapping arms, rocking back and forth and in some cases self-injury like head banging or slapping.
  • Communication difficulties – this can include asking questions, joining in conversations an finding appropriate topics of conversation.
  • Obsessions with certain facts or objects; for example timetables.
  • Asking questions they already know answers to.
  • Obsession with a routine that if broken may cause distress, this is a known area of weakness in children with autism
  • Difficulty forming relationships with others –  making friends can be difficult for children on the spectrum
  • Misunderstanding people’s feelings and emotions – difficulties with “mind reading” or reading peoples facial expression and body language is lacking in children on the spectrum
  • Problems with creativity and imagination are also a cause for concern in children on the spectrum. Typically children with autism are not spontaneous and will struggle with make believe and spontaneity preferring rigid learnt responses.
  • Typically many children on the spectrum will have a short concentration span.

Many autistic people are naturally gifted in certain areas, many autistic people are extremely gifted when using their hands constructing, painting and in music.

Those individuals with Asperger syndrome tend to be on the higher end of the autism scale. This set of individuals with Aspeger syndrome are generally average or above average intelligence.  Those individuals on the lower end of the autism scale may also display learning disabilities, this set of individuals may have poor communication skills and in many cases language may never develop.

In the classroom typically a student with autistic spectrum disorder may have difficulties forming social relationships and following school rules. This can cause issues within the classroom for teachers and other students. A student with autistic spectrum disorder may need extra support in school to help them cope. This help can come in the form of visual intervention strategies like: PECS, visual support cards, flash cards, social skills stories, visual timetables, now and next boards and so on…

Looking into what is Asperger Syndrome?
What is Asperger Syndrome?

Asperger syndrome has been described as “high functioning Autism.”
People with Asperger Syndrome will generally not have any learning disability. In many cases a child with Asperger Syndrome may not receive a diagnosis until they are older. Unlike a diagnosis of autism which is generally given before the child reaches three years of age. Indeed some people can go through their whole lives having Asperger Syndrome and not receive a diagnosis, until they are in their 40’s or older.

Asperger syndrome was first identified by Hans Asperger in the 1940’s; some of the characteristics of Asperger syndrome are:

  • Lack of empathy
  • Naive, inappropriate one sided interactions
  • Little or no ability to form friendships
  • Pedantic or repetitive speech
  • Poor non verbal communication
  • Intense absorption in certain subjects
  • Clumsy and ill coordinated movements and odd postures.

It is also apparent that those individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome also display the triad of autistic impairments – social skills deficits, as with individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

  • Social communication: knowing what to say to other people and understanding what they are saying to you.
  • Social understanding: knowing what to do when you are with others or behaving inappropriately (apparently oblivious to social rules).
  • Imagination: pretend play, make believe and fantasy.

People with Asperger’s Syndrome will generally fulfill their potential and may go on to university, have a job and live a relatively “normal” life, get married and have a family.

 Overcoming the triad of autistic impairment – social skills deficits can be as difficult for the individual with Asperger’s as it can be for those individuals with mild an lower functioning autism

Therefore overcoming social skills deficits can become a primary focus for all people with ASD and their families. Overcoming social skills deficits can be achieved using autism supports like visual intervention strategies such as social skills stories and visual support cards.

 Looking at visual intervention strategies – autism supports

 Generally people with ASD are visual thinkers and learners, which means they think and learn in pictures. Consequently, visual intervention strategies are beneficial because they use visual means of communication, such as images, pictures, graphs and so on.

 An individual on the spectrum will be better able to understand and follow instruction and information when it is presented visually, rather than written or oral command. Strategies such as social stories use visual images along with appropriate first person text to explain a situation or skill that the individual on the spectrum is struggling with.

 For example: Autism and making friends, generally children on the spectrum struggle to make and maintain friendships. A social story can act as a role model or step by step plan showing children on the spectrum the social rules they are expected to follow when attempting to make friends, like for example how to approach another child, how to start a conversation and so on…

For many children with autism social stories are a life line, helping them overcome many difficulties. Many parents trust social stories to help them overcome hurdles such as puberty, relationships, and transitions etc…

 Social skills stories can answer the ever important “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what as well as “HOW” and offer an insight into the thoughts, feelings and emotions of others this is a marked area of weakness for many children with autism.

 Generally social skills stories are in word format making them easy to edit, no two individuals with autism are ever the same and we all use different terminology, therefore social stories need to be editable. They should also be easy to print making them portable and convenient to use anywhere and anytime.

 To learn more about social skills stories and how they benefit children with Autism Spectrum Syndrome disability, as well as other autism supports like visual support cards visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/visual_aids

What can you do about autism anxiety symptoms?

The symptoms of autism affect how an individual thinks and processes information.

Tony Atwood was once quoted as saying “Autism is anxiety looking for a target”. Autism and anxiety go hand-in-hand.

Communication difficulties both verbal and non verbal are common in individuals with autism. Individuals with autism generally appear to be locked inside their own world; these symptoms of autism can cause anxiety.

Anxiety and autism becomes even worse when there is a change in routine, generally children with autism prefer things to remain constant and the same. Even positive and “fun” changes, like a school trip or a visit to the park, can be autistic anxiety triggers, triggering negative even aggressive behaviours.

What can you do about autism anxiety symptoms? For parents of autistic children, it is a good suggestion to anticipate upcoming changes to routines and transitions and help your autistic child prepare for them.

Many parents of autistic children find it helpful to use Intervention Strategies such as: social skills stories, or visual support cards to help prepare their child for impending disruptions.

What can you do about autism anxiety symptoms, for example if you are planning a visit to Grandma, it will be helpful to use visual support cards to show your child where he is going, what it will be like, and what sort of things to expect. Intervention Strategies like social skills stories will also help explaining the “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what as well as “HOW”

Do this each day for three or four days prior to the trip, this will help prevent any unnecessary autistic anxiety triggers, making the trip more predictable, helping to re-assure the autistic child and relieve some of the stress they may feel

Other changes in the routine which are less enjoyable but still necessary such as a new teacher can be traumatic, as can moving to a new house. If at all possible, try to spread out the major changes. If you move to a new house, try to do it during the summer, so that your child won’t have to deal with the added anxiety of getting a new school and new teacher mid-year.

Looking at ways of dealing with anxiety and autism: Introduce your ASD child to “changes” in a positive way you can use Intervention Strategies to prepare for any changes: Try practicing with non-negative things first. For example, give your ASD child a little extra TV time instead of homework time one evening, to show that changes in the routine can often be fun and good.

Then try a neutral change for example: homework after dinner instead of before dinner, then a negative change for example: changing play time into chore time. This process can help your ASD child grow accustomed to the idea of change and learn to adapt without the onset of autistic anxiety triggers causing stress, confusion and upset.

For continual, ongoing anxiety in autistic children many parents of autistic children us anti-anxiety medications with their child, such as:

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), these are also used for obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression. Prozac, Luvox, Zoloft and Anafranil are all common for anxiety in autistic children.

Your own doctor will help prescribe medication, for behavioural problems ASD children are often prescribed Antipsychotics such as Haldol, Fluphenazine and Chlorpromazine. These can reduce aggression in autistic kids, but sometimes also cause sedation and muscle stiffness.

All autistic kids are different. You child’s doctor will monitor your child’s progress very closely, using the lowest dose of medication possible, to see if what improvements it makes and whether there are any adverse reactions.

Medication should be the last resort for autistic kids, not the first one. There are a number of natural remedies available if you don’t want to go down the drug route. But try behavioural and dietary modifications first, to see what improvements can be made naturally.

For information and to signup for a Free Newsletter about Autism please visit The Essential Guide to Autism

 

 

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Social Stories for Autistic Children

Due to social skills deficits children with autism need special INTERVENTION STRATEGIES to learn social skills. Social Stories for Autistic Children and visual support cards are two effective autism teaching aids that can be used.

 

Children with autism have difficulties with social and communication skills this is known as the triad of autistic impairments or social skills deficits.

 

Having social skills deficits will affect how autistic children view themselves and those people around them. Typically autistic children tend to be involved in their own world and not interested in interacting with people around them.

 

It is because of the triad of autistic impairments and issues such as sensory processing issues which mean children with an ASD  require Intervention Strategies and autism teaching aids to help them function and cope.

 

Probably the most popular autism teaching aids are social stories for autistic children and visual support cards, both of which are excellent Intervention Strategies, ARE easy to implement and need no formal training to use.

 

Social Stories are short descriptive stories like a comic strip which use pictures or images to teach children with an ASD social, communication and imagination skills, and help overcome social skills deficits.

 

Social stories use visual images to describe a social situation in terms of the relevant social cues in a manner a child with autism can better understand. The images and first person text will show the child with autism verbal and non verbal cues.

 

A good social skills story will act as a visual plan or role model for the child with autism to follow. Social stories can be used for various situations and skills effectively such as: asking questions, being fair, calming down, eating new foods, making friends and so on. Social stories are also used in schools to help children with autism understand and cope with school, for example recess, assembly, P.E and so on.

 

A social skills story breaks the skill into smaller easier to understand sections and answers the ever important “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what as well as “HOW” and gives an insight into the thoughts and feelings of others which is a known weakness in autism.

 

To learn more about social stories for autistic children and get downloads of appropriate social stories visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com

 

To learn more about other autism teaching aids such as visual support cards visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com/visual_aids

 

Other sites with autism teaching aids are: http://www.insideautisticminds.com

http://www.autismsocialstories.org.uk

What is it like to be autistic?

There are very few physical signs of autism spectrum disorder. So what is it like to be autistic? Imagine being left in a foreign country alone, unable to speak the language, unable to read the signs or gestures of others. Your senses have become super sensitive, and you have nowhere to turn to for help.


This is how the world appears for many autistic children. Our ever changing and fast moving world can trigger anxiety attacks, confusion and stress for those with autism spectrum disorder.


Parents of autistic children report anxieties. Although autism is being diagnosed more frequently with 1:4 being diagnosed autistic, still there is not a lot of information on autism. Parents of autistic children report difficulties such as having to get used to people thinking you are a bad parent that cannot control their child. Parents of kids with autism also report problems from doctors calling them an over-anxious parent, family members dismissing their child as a spoilt brat. Parents of kids with autism also find difficulties with friends, being shunned and not included in events because of their autistic child’s behaviours.


Having a child diagnosed autistic is not going to be easy, experts agree early intervention is beneficial.

 

Parents of kids with autism also agree that visual supports are a good idea, such as visual support cards, schedules, social stories and PECS communication systems.


All designed to help children with autism cope in an ever changing and confusing world. Generally children with autism are visual thinkers and learners meaning they think in images or pictures and will gain more help from visual strategies rather than spoken or text.

 

Implementing visual strategies can benefit children with autism greatly. For example many children with an ASD struggle with simple tasks such as tooth brushing, introducing social stories can help with this.


Social stories are short specific visual strategies, pieces of text which use visual images to describe a situation or skills in terms of the relevant social cues. Using first person language with no frills, following a specific pattern social stories are visual strategies that are used to teach and re-enforce social and communication skills as well as give clear coping strategies for sensory processing issues and behaviour difficulties.


Much like a visual plan or role model a social skills story can answer the “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what as well as give an insight into the thoughts and feelings of those around them.


So for example a social skills story for tooth brushing can teach children with an ASD why it is important to brush your teeth, how to brush your teeth and what the consequence of not brushing your teeth might be.


Teachers and parents with ASD children do not need any formal training to use social skills stories, they can be printed, personalized and edited to make them easy to implement and convenient.

 

ASD children respond well to visual strategies such as social skills stories, visual support cards, schedules and PECS.


For more information on visual supports such as social stories visit:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com


Or for more information on visual support cards visit:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/visual_aids

Having autism and the ability to mind read

The term “Mind reading” probably conjures up thoughts of psychics and mystical beings. This however is not the case. As typically developing beings we have the ability to predict the thoughts and feelings of those around us, by reading the person’s facial and body language. This ability is often referred to as the theory of mind.

With autism however the theory of mind is missing, an autistic individual will struggle to predict emotion, thought, feelings and desires by simply reading the persons body and facial language and expression.

Consequently for those having autism this lack of theory of mind or non-verbal communication skills can cause social blunders at times, which in itself can leave the autistic individual open to bullying in some cases.

Research into autism suggests that children with autism can be helped learn and develop social and communication skills. Including non-verbal communication skills successfully, by using appropriate methods and treatments for autism and related conditions, such as visual support cards, PECS and social stories.

For many children with autism and the ability to mind read is aided successfully using these methods. Social stories are short descriptive visual representations of a skill or behaviour much like a visual framework they can follow. Taking a situation or skill that they are struggling with, like for example, respecting personal space and making it more predictable and routine.

All autistic individuals will want routine and sameness this is a symptom of autism. By using social stories you can easily make unpredictable situations, stressful situations even everyday skills and behaviours that the autistic individual is struggling with more routine, by giving them a clear precise structured framework to follow.

Social stories are appropriate methods and treatments for autism and related conditions. By using visual images, the social story makes it easier to understand the skill. For those with autism information is absorbed and understood far easier if that information is given visually as with visual support cards and social stories.

The social story follows a specific formula of specially designed short no frill sentences with visual images. To download appropriate social stories for children with autism and related conditions visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com

Or for other specific social stories for children with autism visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com/social_skills

Visual supports for children with autism

Generally children with autism are visual thinkers; which means they think in pictures. Therefore, the most successful ways to help children with autism learn and understand the information they are given is through visual supports and aids.

 

Many teachers and parents of children with ASD report negative behaviours and frustrations felt and displayed by children with autism when information is difficult to understand, such as written or oral instruction etc, rather than visual.

 

For many children with autism spoken words are not easy to comprehend, much like listening to a foreign language, which can be frustrating and stressful this can lead to meltdowns and the child generally just “switching off”

 

Consequently, it has been found that when attempting to teach or convey information to a child with ASD, using visual supports for children with autism is beneficial. Avoiding long spoken sentences or pieces of text with no illustration is advisable for most children with ASD.

 

Visual supports for children with autism are generally used to help support oral commands and information, for example visual support cards can be used to help show a child with autism the toilet, coat peg, library and so on..

 

The most significant visual supports for children with autism spectrum disorder and related conditions are visual support cards or (PECS) as well as other support aids such as social stories.

 

By using visual support cards it allows the child with ASD to focus on the message being taught or the information being presented.

 

In the classroom teachers of students with autism use visual supports cards to help the student with ASD organize their day for example on a visual timetable. The student with ASD will like repetition and sameness, a visual timetable can help achieve this, the student can easily identify what lesson is coming up next, what they need to do, where they need to be etc.


Also in the classroom teachers of students with autism use visual supports cards to show direction and information. For example many teachers of students with autism place visual support aids on the pencil draw, the bathroom, sink and so on to help the student with ASD identify easily where things are, this can save a lot of confusion and stress not only for the teacher but also the student themselves.

 

In the home parents of children with ASD and related conditions use visual supports aids around the home again on a visual timetable, helping the child identify mealtimes, bath time, time for school and so on.


In the home parents of children with ASD and related conditions use visual aids to help the child identify certain areas, things, objects etc, for example the toilet, sink, where the cups are stored and so on.

 

Visual supports for children with autism spectrum disorder are also used to help the child with ASD learn social and communication skills, for example brushing your teeth, hair and so on. Used as a strategy visual supports can be used with social stories affectively to teach skills, communication and behaviours. Many parents of ASD children find used as a strategy visual supports and social stories are beneficial and both are recommended to help all children with ASD learn appropriate social and communication skills and behaviours.


To learn more and see examples of visual supports for children with ASD and related conditions visit:

 

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/visual_aids

 

Social stories that help can be instantly downloaded from:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com


http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school_resources

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Social skills to implement with nonverbal autistic children

All children with autism have social deficits and will more often than not lack the ability to read others thoughts and body language often referred to as the theory of mind. As typically developing we have the ability to read and determine the thoughts, feelings and emotions of those around us.

In fact Temple Grandin described her inability to understand the social communication of Neurotypicals as leaving her feeling “like an anthropologist on Mars”.

Toddlers with autism have more striking social deficits; for example they may avoid physical contact and make less eye contact. Toddlers with autism are far more likely to communicate non-verbally by manipulating another person’s hand.

Reports suggest that up to half of the children diagnosed with ASD will not develop appropriate communication skills and speech. And many children diagnosed with ASD may never develop speech.

This lack of appropriate communication skill can for many children diagnosed with ASD prove a real problem. For those nonverbal autistic children many parents and teachers use visual support cards and social stories that help the children with ASD communicate, learn, interact and understand the world around them.

Social skills to implement with nonverbal autistic children can be achieved through the use of visual support cards which can be used in conjunction with visual timetables, now and next boards and social stories.

 

What are visual support cards and how do they help? Small laminated cards showing images or pictures, some may contain text too. Sometimes referred to PECS (picture exchange communication system) used widely to help nonverbal autistic children communicate.

 

Visual support cards for social skills to implement with nonverbal autistic children can be downloaded and viewed from sites such as: http://www.autismsocialstories.com/visual_aids


For social stories visit that can be used in conjunction with these visual support cards visit:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com

 

 

 

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