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The Importance of "Social Stories" for Children on the Autism Spectrum

"Why the emphasis on 'social stories' for autistic children ...and do they actually work?"

A social story that directly addresses the issue in question (e.g., getting along with friends) and is age appropriate can be a wonderful tool for teaching social skills and helping the child to comprehend the hidden social rules that most of us take for granted. For example, common sense manners like:
  • Be patient when waiting in line or when waiting to get in elevators, subways, cabs, etc.  
  • Engage people with genuinely good eye contact. 
  • If you are meeting someone for the first time and just coming off a cold, mention it and don’t shake their hand.
  •  If you get to the door first, hold it open.
  • Wait for people to finish their sentences and listen to what they are saying instead of waiting for your turn to speak. 
  • When someone compliments you, take it.
  •   and so on...

Children with ASD level 1, or High-Functioning Autism, struggle with social skills. The long held notion that these kids lack an interest in social interactions is often inaccurate. 
They do indeed desire social involvement, but lack the necessary skills to interact effectively. This lack of “know-how” can also lead to feelings of social anxiety in many children on the spectrum, which often results in the avoidance of social situations, and subsequently, the development of social skill deficits.

Children with ASD need to be taught social skills, and they need to understand what may happen in social situations so that they are prepared, and do not become overwhelmed or withdraw from social settings. Social stories provide these children a manner of improving their social skills and understanding what is expected of them in social situations. 
Social stories also provide some perspective on the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors of others. And because social stories occur in a discrete teaching situation without the stresses of the actual social situation, they give the child a chance to practice the skills often -- and in a safe environment.

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My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

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How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

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Parenting Defiant Teens on the Spectrum

Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

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Older Teens and Young Adult Children with ASD Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with ASD face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

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Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

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to read the full article...

Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

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