Children with autism need extra support to be included in day-to-day life. The social cues, rules and routines that neurotypical children pick up without explicit teaching do not come as easily to a child with ASD. Without the appropriate support, these children may look to be “misbehaving” or “difficult” when really, they just require a helping hand to get involved and be included.
There are nine key questions when preparing a child with autism for a new event or skill:
- Where do I have to be?
- Who will I be with?
- Where exactly in the place will I be?
- What will be happening there?
- How much will I have to do there?
- How will I know when I have finished?
- What will I be doing next?
- What is the expected behaviour?
- What if? (questions guided by the child and their concerns)
If you are going to a school assembly later in the day, an adult should sit down with the child and move through the nine questions to ensure that the child knows exactly what is going to happen, how it will happen and what is expected of them specifically. This can prevent issues before they arise and prevention is always better than cure.
Visual resources like timetables and social stories benefit children with autism massively as it can reduce their anxieties by providing clarity. Timetables (app recommendation here) are easy to prepare and implement but having every single social story ready is not always possible. A lot of preparation can be required preparing a story about the event or skill you are trying to teach. They are extremely worthwhile but how can you predict every change, social skill and event that will happen in a school year? You can’t and this is where MagnusCards come in.
MagnusCards is an app that has a wealth of scenarios and skills that answer a lot of the generic questions that will occur throughout a school day and home life.
For example, if you want to teach a child how to come in from lunchtime, there is a 10 picture story on how to do this. Want to teach a child how to engage with pairwork in a class? There is a 7 picture story that can be used.
The events and skills range from school to social skills to personal care and safety along with much more. The pictures and text are not specific to your child’s school or home but the stories are readily accessible at your fingertips if you need them.
I would recommend this app for three reasons. First of all, having a look through the app will help you predict what stories you could personalise, prepare and print in advance for your child. Secondly, when a change occurs or unforeseen event happens, you have a quick-and-easy visual aid to support the conversation you need to have to support a child with autism. Finally, if you see a child with autism acting inappropriately during lunchtime or somewhere unstructured, you can pull out the app and use a social story to incidentally teach an alternative way to behave in that scenario with clear, visual prompts. MagnusCards is an app that is simple, free and practical. These apps are always welcome in a teacher’s toolkit.
To download MagnusCards:
Android Version here.
Apple Version here.
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