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What are the benefits of social stories for children with autism?

What are the benefits of social stories for children with autism?

For some children with autism, communication can be difficult. They might be unable to talk, have limited speech or have situational / selective mutism. Further to this, some children may be cognitively impaired and find it difficult to understand certain situations. These children may benefit from communication aids, one such aid being a social story.

A social story is a story created with pictures/photographs and short descriptions to describe an event or situation in short statements so that a child can understand what is going to happen. They can be an extremely useful tool for children with autism who struggle with communication and understanding and help to explain situations in a way that is meaningful to them.

What are the benefits of social stories?

They can be created by anyone.

Social stories can be created by anyone - from parent carers to speech and language therapists and teachers. You can even find ready made social stories on the internet created for specific events or situations. One of the benefits of this is it also makes them easy and free to obtain.

They are dynamic and can be used to explain many events

Social stories are incredibly dynamic and can be used to explain any event or situation in a way that your child will understand. From visiting the dentist or going on holiday to a new routine or upcoming change. Social stories break down events in an easy, meaningful way to help aid communication and understanding between parents and professionals with autistic children.

They can help to reduce behavioural issues due to frustration and misunderstanding aiding self-regulation skills.

Social stories help children with autism to understand change and what is going to happen during certain situations. When children do not understand, they can become frustrated and lash out, hurting themselves or others. Better understanding can help to reduce the chance of this happening and means that a child is more likely to be able to manage their emotions and behaviour.

They can help lessen stress and anxiety.

Similarly, when a child with autism does not understand that a change is about to occur or not know what to expect during a situation, it can be extremely stressful and anxiety-inducing. Social stories can prevent this from happening and therefore be a good aid not only for communication and understanding but for better mental well-being.

They give clear expectations.

Social stories give clear expectations, which can improve communication, understanding and behaviour. This in turn can help them to cooperate at school and at home.

They can help to develop self-care skills.

Social stories can be created for tasks such as washing, brushing your teeth and getting dressed and undressed.

They can help to develop social skills.

Social stories can be used to help children with autism understand how to respond or behave in certain situations, for example, when to say please and thank you, sharing or asking for help with a task.

They can help with self-esteem.

When a child has better understanding, their self-esteem can be improved. Social stories can also be used to praise a child and provide positive feedback, aiding their self-esteem.

As you can see, there are lots of benefits to using social stories for children with autism.

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