Autism Social Stories – Guest Post

I recently stumbled on a site for Autism Social Stories. The website site is called autismsocialstories.com. I am not really good at explaining what social stories are so I contacted them and asked them to write something. I have used a social story or two in the past with Dakota. I can’t honestly remember if it worked. Thanks Janine for taking the time to write something for me!

Social skills stories

Hi there, let me introduce myself, my name is Janine, and I am an autism behavior and development advisor. I work predominantly with autistic and asperger children and adults. I use social skills stories in my work to help families, parents, teachers and other professionals teach and re-enforce social and communication skills to autistic children and adults.

Social skills stories were first developed almost twenty years ago by therapist Carol Gray as a means of teaching communication to the autistic children she was working with. Since there introduction social skills stories have evolved into one of the main resources used by professionals, teachers and parents to help achieve communication and social skills goals with the autistic child or young person in their care.

I have myself been using social skills stories for over seven years in my work but have been involved with the creation and application of autistic social skills resources longer. In my experience social skills stories have helped overcome some stressful and unusual circumstances for many parents and children alike. Not only can social skills stories help teach social skills like for example something as simple as tooth brushing, they can also help with more complicated issues like marriage, a birth even a death in the family.

Social skills stories can help re-enforce the daily living skills the rest of us take for granted, like having a conversation, making friends, taking turns, sharing even visiting family or shopping.

In the 11 years I have worked with individuals with pervasive developmental disorders one of the major issues is always social and communication deficits. All individuals with social and communication both verbal and non-verbal deficits and will need direct teaching of typically learnt social and communication skills.

Through the use of autistic resources like social stories parents manage to teach behaviors, social, communication, imagination and interaction skills that their children struggle to comprehend and cope with.

What does a social story look like?

Social stories follow a set structure of sentence types:

Descriptive sentence provides information about specific social settings or situations, for example they provide cues to what the person sees, who is involved, and what happens, an example of a descriptive sentence being: At lunch time most of the children will go to the dinner hall.

Perspective sentences describe the feelings, emotions, thoughts, and/or mood of other people. Describing the way a situation is viewed by some body else, many kids with autism have difficulties understanding how others see things they lack the ability to read facial expression or body language. An example of a perspective sentence being: Usually, when people are happy, they smile.  Smiling makes people feel good.

Directive sentences provide the autistic person with information about what they should try and do, to be successful in the situation. An example of a directive sentence being: If I stay calm in class, I will learn more.

Control sentences provide the autistic youngster with how they can achieve the goal or key focus of the skills being taught.  An example of a control sentence being: I can count to ten and calm down.

Social stories are always written in the first person and from the autistic person’s point of view. Generally social stories are visually rich with appropriate images helping to describe and illustrate the skill being taught. Parents report significant improvement in behaviors even self-injurious behaviors as well as repetitive behaviors for example stimming, these behaviors can also be tackled and managed using social stories.

Social stories are normally written by professionals such as my self or parents, the internet now makes it possible to download social stories straight to your computer cutting out all the red tape and stress of assessments and form filling until you finally get the much needed story in some cases. Sites such as www.autismsocialstories.com make downloading and sourcing expertly written social stories easy. I am involved with writing and supporting parents and clients at www.autismsocialstories.com and will be happy to help and assist you in making the right choices on social stories for your child. Please feel free to drop me an email or visit me at admin@autismsocialstories.com or visit the site today and learn more about how social stories can make a difference to your child.

OR visit www.autismsocialskillsstories.org.uk for a list of social stories titles all available for immediate download.

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