With the ever-expanding diagnosis of autism, the Internet is exploding with information and materials. This column briefly features some online learning opportunities and helpful information about the role of speech-language professionals, but focuses primarily on pragmatics/social skills that are typically addressed in treatment for autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).
ASDs and SLPs' Role
- AIM—Austin Internet Modules of evidence-based practices and interventions for students with ASD. This freely available and continuously expanding resource includes pre- and post-tests, PowerPoints, videos and articles to read.
- Autism Seminar—free undergraduate class lectures to watch and download to your computer, iPad or iPhone from the Yale Child Study Center and iTunes U.
- The Role of the School Speech Language Pathologist and the Student with Autism by SLP Beverly Vicker contains a menu of options and related ideas for delivery of services to meet individual needs of children with ASD.
- ASHA's "Social Language Use (Pragmatics)" and "Pragmatic Language Tips" offer information and strategies for helping children improve their social communication.
- Moving Toward Functional Social Competence [PDF], a 29-page PDF of "a scope and sequence assessment of social skill development for students with challenges in social cognition," includes a data collection recording system to document observed social behaviors and track progress in students with ASDs in a variety of settings.
- Good Character is a commercial, educational site for grades K–12, but the "Teaching Guides" have freely available information for parents on social skill topics and suggestions for student activities and written and home assignments.
- A series of short YouTube "How-To" videos from Autism Teaching Strategies demonstrate social skills activities for children with autism.
- Building Values Through Online Stories has nicely illustrated online books on sharing, being respectful, feeling happy, resolving conflicts, and more.
- Behavior Stories from the Watson Institute can be customized for individual children.
- Speaking of Speech has many social skills/pragmatics worksheets and other materials.
- Make Belief Comix allows users to create their own comic strips, and can be used with children with autism to develop social scenarios.
- Social Skills Lessons for Middle School Students includes educational objectives, a lesson plan, and a rubric for evaluation.
- Autism Games offers several suggestions for beginning, intermediate, and advanced social engagement activities, including objectives on cooperation and managing emotions.
- TES Teaching Resources, which requires free registration, has ASD and social skills resources that include several downloads including social skills for life and work, mood cards Widgit symbols, angry thought Widgit symbols, comic strip conversations, emotions cards using Widgit CIP2, and much more.
- Teaching Social Skills in Language Arts has many worksheets to explore for social skills, including Emotions Bingo, Making Faces, Teamwork Rubric, and more.
- The following resources provided many of the suggestions for this column and are worth exploring for additional materials: Jill Kuzma's Social/Emotional Skills Sharing Site; Cindy's Autistic Support; and Judith Kuster's Autism Spectrum Disorders.