Teaching Social Skills
Temple Grandin, in her book entitled ‘Developing Talents: Careers for Individuals with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism’, urges parents, teachers and care-givers to support children with Asperger and ASD to develop the all important social skills that are required to be part of an inclusive classroom, and hold down a job in today’s society. 

Skills such as using manners, holding a conversation, controlling emotions and temper in public, learning to negotiate, share and take turns, and understanding social cues - these are skills that a child with Aspergers will need to be taught in order to succeed in the workplace.

Grandin believes that through meaningful work, individuals with Aspergers can find a purpose in life and a focus for their special interests, and ultimately make a valuable contribution to society. 

Following are two techniques that have been found useful for teaching social skills and reinforcing positive behaviour for children with Aspergers and ASD, however they could also be incorporated into the regular classroom for the benefit of all children.

Story Boards
Storyboards are miniature picture stories that provide a script for behaviour.  They are a visual reminder of what behaviour is desired, when the behaviour is appropriate and how it affects others. (Ashley 2007). 
 Story Boards are like a comic strip or picture book with images that show the child what to do, what to say or how to respond in a given situation, for example, ‘People like it when I say Hi’.

                                        Story Boards and Behaviour Bubbles act as a visual reminder for the child 
                                          and reinforce positive behaviour without punishment or lecturing. 
                                                                                                      (Ashley 2007)

Behaviour Bubbles
Similar to Story Boards, ‘Behaviour Bubbles’ are tools to help children understand the cause and effect relationship between words and behaviour, thoughts, feelings and actions.

As children with Asperger begin to understand that what we ‘think’ causes our feelings, and our feelings lead to our words and behaviour, they can then begin to make better choices about what they say and do. (Ashley 2007)

The behaviour bubbles can be used to revisit and review a negative situation that took place earlier in the day and then, working with the child, discover and reinforce positive behaviour choices and actions that the child could have made.   

For more information about Story Boards and Behaviour Bubbles see the following:

Ashley, S. (2007) ‘The Asperger’s Answer Book: The Top 300 Questions Parents Ask’. Sourcebooks Inc. Naperville, Illinois, USA.

Wilczynski, S.M., Edwards, R.P., Rabian, B. (2002) ‘Decreasing Disruptive Behaviours of children with Autism using Social Stories Dorothy Scattone’,  Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Vol 32, No 6, 2002 P 535-543