Many parents of children with autism search for answers that will help them overcome some of the issues relating to autism characteristics and behaviors, an easy answer is social stories can help. What are social stories? And how WILL they help a child with autism improve his social skills and behaviors?
What are social stories, put simply they are specifically written step by step plans to help children with autism learn and master skills they otherwise struggle with.
A social skills story is a short descriptive piece of text (story) written for an individual with social skills deficits to help establish and encourage positive social interactions and behaviors.
Due to autism characteristics and behaviors many children with autism struggle to make sense of the world they live in and the people they come into contact with, these difficulties are known as social skills deficits and are common to autism.
Social skills stories are written by therapists, teachers and parents of children with autism to prepare them for experiences and changes to routines. Social skills stories can be on issues as varied as tooth brushing, visiting grandparents, recess even visiting the dentist or hairdresser.
Many parents of children with autism, caregivers and teachers create social skills stories to help teach social and communication skills and behaviors within the family and school setting.
Social stories are used to help children plan and manage transitions, ask appropriate questions, and calm down successfully.
Generally, social stories are visually rich giving the autistic child visual cues helping them identify and understand the skill or behavior being taught or re-enforced. Visual images in the social story for autism help make the social story’s content and purpose clearer.
When looking at how to write social stories for children with autism these factors should be considered:
A Social Story should describe a situation, skill, or concept in terms of relevant social cues, perspectives, and common responses in a specifically defined style and format.
The goal of a social story for autism is to provide accurate information and clarity in a reassuring manner that can be understood by the autistic child or young person.
Always written in the first person using appropriate language social skills stories are used as a strategy for most behavior and skills the autistic child or young person needs help with.
Social stories are an Intervention Strategy put in place to help children with autism and related conditions find coping methods for skills and situations they may struggle to understand.
Social stories are used to help with: transitions, changes to routines, learn new skills, re-enforce already learnt skills, help with unexpected events or situations, as a calming method, hygiene issues, puberty and various other situations, skills, behaviours and events a child or young person with autism may encounter daily and throughout life