It may be helpful to use Social Stories with your child. Social stories are short descriptions of a particular situation, event or activity, which include specific information about what to expect in that situation and why.
Using social stories to support social skills
As explained on Carol Gray’s website for Social Stories:
“A Social Story™ describes a situation, skill, or concept in terms of relevant social cues, perspectives, and common responses in a specifically defined style and format. The goal of a Social Story™ is to share accurate social information in a patient and reassuring manner that is easily understood by its audience. Half of all Social Stories™ developed should affirm something that an individual does well. Although the goal of a Story™ should never be to change the individual’s behaviour, that individual’s improved understanding of events and expectations may lead to more effective responses.”
More information and examples of Social Stories, as well as guidance on how to write Social Stories, can be found on Carol Gray’s Social Stories website and on the National Autistic Society website.
Picture books and comic strips
Your child will continue to benefit from opportunities to learn about and practice social skills, such as the buddy system which may already be in place in school. Your child may also enjoy having children’s picture books about friendships read to him to give him more insight into what a friend is and how to be a good friend.
One example of such a book is: “How to be a friend: A guide to making friends and keeping them” by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown
Provide opportunities for your child to learn and practice social interaction skills e.g. support to share, take turns with peers, encourage your child to look and listen to other children. Support your child to learn co-operative play skills e.g. by adults teaching and supporting playground games.
There are also further tips and advice on developing social skills in young children with autism on the National Autistic Society website.
Using Comic Strip Conversations can be a helpful tool in supporting social understanding. They are a visual representation of a particular social situation using simple drawing and speech/thought bubbles. Colour coding used to represent different emotions. See the National Autistic Society website for information about how to use these.
Your child may find social skills to be a hard concept to grasp, but being able to show social interactions in a visual manner, may be beneficial to their understanding.
Speak to one of our clinicians if you are looking for further professional advice.