Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Book Review - The Social Skills Picture Book

First, on a personal note, thanks for any thoughts and prayers you sent our way in the last week. The emergency passed, and everything is pretty much back to "normal" around here. I have not decided whether I will write more about our adventure stay tuned, but apologies in advance if I decide to focus on other topics. At the moment it all seems like it could have just been a bad dream...

Meanwhile back to our usual schedule. I wanted to let you all know about this resource if you aren't already familiar with it. I actually bought this book before we had a formal diagnosis for our daughter. Someone had told me that social stories might be a good approach for her even if she wasn't on the spectrum. They recommended this book as a good place to start, and I must say I agree. Once again I haven't read every page of this book, but it is not that sort of a is a deep well of knowledge on social stories, topics that can be addressed by them, and how and when to write them. "Part One" is a brief introduction to autism, social skills teaching, social stories, and how to write your own stories. "Part Two" is a list of social skills and example stories including pictures to go with those skills. For example there are stories about respecting personal space, taking turns, and dealing with mistakes. Studying this book is the primary way that I have learned to write social stories for my daughter. Although the stories are general and must be fine tuned to each individual, the correct form is emphasized, and the pictures are good examples of what might be needed to make your own story.

I also have to say that I love the cover photo on this book. It's just a happy picture, with four happy kids who seem secure in their happiness. Do you think any of the children here might have autism? Which one? Are you sure? I doubt you can tell for sure, which is exactly my point. Autism can be an "invisible" disorder in the sense that an individual with autism may "look perfectly normal" though they struggle to perceive the world around them in a way that makes sense to them. (Is that why the shoes are above the heads?) Bear this in mind as you go about your business as usual. The mom that you're criticizing because she can't get her three year old to behave may be dealing with more than the usual trials of toddlerhood. The young man who gave you an off the wall response to your casual, "Hello" as you passed each other on the sidewalk might not be as inebriated as you initially thought.

“You never truly know someone until you've walked a mile in his shoes.”

The Social Skills Picture Book can help you do that by helping you realize how skills you take for granted (like knowing when it is okay to interrupt and how to do so politely) can be challenging for others.


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