Visual strategies for autism social skills training, Part 1, Introduction

This is the first of several postings on the topic of using visual-based social skills training methods for children on the autism spectrum to help raise awareness of social cause and effect.

It has been observed that many individuals on the autism spectrum tend to have a style of learning that is predominately visual.  Temple Grandin, in her book, Teaching Children with Autism, describes how she visualizes the process of meeting new people:  “When I think about abstract concepts such as relationships with people, I use visual images such as a sliding glass door.  Relationships should be approached gently because barging forward too quickly might shatter the door.”

(Here is a 6-minute Youtube segment in which Grandin articulates this further)

In this series of blog postings, I will describe several hands-on, visual methods I have used to help children with autism spectrum disorders to learn about social skills in relationships.

I will show how to use two magnets in social skills training to help children with autism to better understand what kinds of behaviors “attract” and “repel” others

I will show how to use a toy balance as a social skills tool to help kids with autism to understand reciprocity in relationships

I hope you will find these visual-based social skill training methods useful for your young students, clients, sons and daughters on the autism spectrum.

Joel Shaul, LCSW


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