HELP FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH ASPERGER'S & HIGH-FUNCTIONING AUTISM

Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders

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How To Write Social Stories for Your Child & Why They Are Super Important

"What exactly is a social story, and how do you write an effective one for children with high functioning autism?"

A social story is a frequently used method to teach social skills to kids with Asperger’s (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA). A social story is a non-coercive technique that presents social concepts and rules to kids in the form of a brief story. This method can be used to teach a number of social and behavioral concepts (e.g., making transitions, playing a game, going on a field trip, etc.). 

There are four major components that are crucial to a successful social story. The story should:
  1. be commensurate with the child’s ability and comprehension level
  2. be something the youngster wants to read on his or her own 
  3. be written in response to the youngster’s personal needs
  4. use less directive terms (e.g., “can” or “could”) rather than more directive terms (e.g., “will” or “must”). 

Making sure the story has all four components is especially important for kids who tend to be oppositional (i.e., a youngster who doesn’t decide what to do until parents tells him/her to do something, then he/she does the opposite). 

A social story can be paired with pictures and placed on a computer to take advantage of the youngster’s tendency towards visual instruction and interest in computers.

Kids with AS and HFA seem to learn best when social stories are used in conjunction with role-playing and used as a social primer (i.e., after reading the social story, the youngster then practices the skill introduced in the story).

For example, immediately after reading a story about joining-in an activity with friends, the youngster would practice the skill. Then, after reading the story and practicing the skill, the youngster would be exposed to a social situation where he or she would have an opportunity to perform the skill.






There should be a specific pattern to a social story, which includes several descriptive, perspective, and directive sentences:
  • A descriptive sentence describes what people do in particular social situation, and defines where a situation occurs, who is involved, what others are doing – and why (e.g., “Sometimes at school, the fire alarm will go off. It is a loud bell that rings when there is a fire or when students are practicing leaving the building. The teachers help us to line up and go outside as fast as we can. The alarm is very loud so that all the students can hear it.”).
  • A perspective sentence describes people’s reactions to a situation so that the child can learn how they perceive various events. It describes the internal states of others (i.e., their thoughts, feelings and mood). For example, “The fire alarm may bother some students. Teachers don’t understand how much it bothers me. Sometimes the teacher gets upset if I do not move fast enough or get confused. Her job is to get me outside as soon as possible so I am safe in case there is a real fire.”
  • A directive sentence directs the child to an appropriate response. It states (in positive terms) what the desired behavior is (e.g., “A real fire is dangerous and can burn people. This is why it’s important for me to exit the building with the other students as quickly as possible, even though the alarm hurts my ears”).

So, this social story about fire alarms could read like this:

Sometimes at school, the fire alarm will go off. It is a loud bell that rings when there is a fire or when students are practicing leaving the building. The teachers help us to line up and go outside as fast as we can. The alarm is very loud so that all the students can hear it. It may bother some students. Teachers don’t understand how much it really startles me. Sometimes the teacher gets upset if I do not move fast enough or get confused. Her job is to get me outside as soon as possible so I am safe in case there is a real fire. A real fire is dangerous and can burn people. This is why it’s important for me to exit the building with the other students as quickly as possible, even though the alarm hurts my ears.
 
More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book


==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

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