Typically a student with autism can display difficulties understanding rules, communication and non-verbal communication, such as facial expression and body language.
Teachers in mainstream or special ED classrooms must therefore provide any autistic pupil with information in a manner that they can understand; information such as rules or expectations, lesson plans and how to interact in lessons such as art and p.e.
Generally kids on the autism spectrum are visual thinkers and learners, meaning they think in pictures. Consequently using visual strategies such as pecs cards, visual schedules and Social stories will work best for them.
Teachers in mainstream or special ED classrooms have reported that using visual strategies for teaching an autistic pupil Social Interaction Skills works.
Visual schedules can be used to provide a student with autism an overview of the day, for example lesson order, when break and recess will happen etc.
Many teachers of autistic pupil’s also find mini-schedules helpful. A mini-schedule breaks a certain skill or activity down into smaller components showing the steps a student will need to take to complete the task.
Teachers of autistic pupil’s also use PECS or Visual Support Cards to help support communication. The visual support cards are also used in both the visual schedule as well as the mini-schedule. Visual support cards are generally small laminated picture cards with appropriate text under the picture.
Social stories for Autistic Pupils are also implemented to help teach social interaction skills, classroom rules, transitions and how to perform skills and activities that they may struggle with. For example recess, many ASD students struggle with recess and the unpredictability of other children running around, noise and general chaos can be stressful and confusing for kids on the autism spectrum. Using Social stories for Autistic Pupils can reduce some of the anxieties felt.
The vast majority of autistic pupil’s need direct instruction in social and communication skills.
Most ASD students do not learn social interaction skills by simply being placed in social environments and will need direct teaching in the same way they learn other academic skills.
Using social skills stories for autistic pupil’s as a visual strategy is beneficial. The social story is designed to teach the child with autism how to cope with certain tasks and activities by answering the “wh” questions who, where, why, when and what as well as giving an insight into the emotions and thoughts of others, and how to respond in certain social situations.
The social story should be written in first person text, use visual images, be editable and printable for convenience of use. Social skills stories for autistic pupils are used to teach behaviour and to enhance understanding. They provide a framework for activities such as recess, break times, assembly, shared reading, asking questions, making friends, hygiene as well as other skills like saying thank you and so on.
To find out more about using visual strategies visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school/index.html