Teaching Social Skills To Children With Autism
Published on 15th June 2022
The social story and Dublin City Libraries
Ballymun Library now hosts weekly visits from service users from St. Michael’s House and the National Learning Network.
Teachers have the use of sensory toys when organising class visits. Our colleague, Linda devised a ‘social story’ so that teachers / facilitators can prepare students with learning difficulties for their library visit. Linda worked with Fiona Ferris from AsIAm (Ireland’s National Autism Charity) who provided guidance on language and what to describe in the story.
Teaching social rules. Often, children with ASD have difficulty noticing and imitating the behaviour of others around them. This leads to difficulty understanding social rules and responding to the behavior of others. Many social rules need to be explicitly taught by breaking down social situations and providing children with rules on how to respond, particularly with skills that are more abstract.
For example, the concept of personal space may be vague to a child with autism. They may not understand how close to stand to others. Providing a rule, such as, you must stand two steps away from your friends while you are talking, can help to make the concept more explicit.
Providing scripts. Children with autism may benefit from being taught simple scripts that can be used in social situations. This is a way of giving a child words or phrases that may be helpful.
What are social stories? Social stories explain social situations to autistic children and help them learn ways of behaving in these situations. These stories are sometimes called social scripts, social narratives or story-based interventions.
An example of a social script can be found below.
Social Stories/Scripts - A social story is a short story that breaks down social situations, and provides information, guidance, and instruction for specific activities. These stories/scripts can be reviewed regularly and used as a way to teach individuals with ASD about social situations. Social stories can be personalized for each child and should include pictures when needed. Social stories can be used to teach concepts such as going to a birthday party, taking turns with friends, and participating in extracurricular sports.
More about social stories: Carol Gray Social Stories.