Friendship, play and social interaction are all two-way – and we need to support both the child with ASD and their peers to make social skills programmes work. Using social scripts to teach children with ASD, ADHD, ODD and PDA how to engage socially can be a great strategy to improve understanding of events and situations. Social scripts describe a social situation, skill or concept. The goal of a social script is to promote true social understanding.
For example, I taught a Year 1 girl who wasn’t doing her work, constantly getting frustrated and not staying at her seat. It turned out she didn’t know how OR when to ask for help. Creating a social script to explain the concept of ‘asking for help’, significantly changed this child’s ability complete work. Other students seem to learn these concepts without explicitly being taught, but in my experience ASD, ADHD, ODD and PDA students need support to understand expectations, rules and changes. The reason social scripts are so effective is that they are visual, can be referred back to and tell the child what to do or expect.
Ultimately, they help children with ASD understand social rules, what others mean and how to interact.
“Improvement in behaviour doesn’t come from the social script,
it comes from the improved understanding of events and situations.”
Examples of Social Situations where you might use Social Scripts
NEW activities or change
- What to do if your teacher is away
- Going on Camp /Excursions/ Swimming Lessons
- New Teacher or New Teacher Aide
- Change in Family: Loss of family member, Divorce, New baby
Understanding Expectations / Rules
- What to do if you need help
- What to do if you make a mistake
- Sitting on the mat/desk or Waiting in line
- What to do when I get to school
- What to do when I lose something
How to Create Successful Social Scripts
- Use Photos, line drawings, comic strips or even video to support social scripts.
- Many students like helping to make the social scripts this can include selecting photos, typing or writing words, illustrating or laminating the finished book
- It is important to use words that aren’t too specific such as ‘Sometimes,’ ‘Usually,’ ‘Often,’ or ‘Occasionally’ – this allows for flexibility
- Social scripts are ALWAYS positive. Don’t use sentences such as ‘I often interrupt,’ or ‘Sometimes I hit other children.’ These sentences don’t give information about available alternatives.
- Read with the social script with the student and check they understand, often it takes a few edits to get the social script perfect.
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Ready Made Social Scripts in Developing Social Skills Book
- Waiting for my Turn to Talk
- When the Teacher is Talking
- When I Want to Say Something in Class
- Bumping into other People
- Greeting Someone for the First Time That Day
- Farewells or Goodbyes
- Can I Play Please?
- When I make a Social Mistake
- Plus many more