Nowadays, the number of cases of autism has increased. They may emerge as an autonomous disorder or combined with other developmental disorders. One of the most frequent characteristics of people with autism is inappropriate behaviour, which originates in the lack of understanding of the social context, i.e. what kind of behaviour is acceptable in a particular situation. The teaching of socially acceptable ways of behaving and social skills is conducted in various ways, including social stories. The purpose of these stories is to explain a specific situation from the point of view of a child with autism, offering concrete ideas as to how to react in a proper way.
For the purposes of the master’s thesis, I conducted a study of a nine-year-old student with a mild intellectual disability, autism and a mild physical disability. The student attends an adapted education programme with a lower educational standard.
The main aims were to form an individualised programme of discussing social stories and to assess the effect of social stories on the acquisition of new social and communication skills. I also monitored whether the student continued to use the newly acquired social and communication skills or not. I designed four social stories addressing situations, where the boy previously experienced difficulties with understanding the events. Fourteen individual lessons stretched over nine weeks. During the sessions, parts of the social stories were presented to the student, using different methodology in order to establish the most efficient approach.
Using four individualised assessment scales, the results showed an improvement in the use of the new social and communication skills. The student was partly successful in using the newly acquired skills both during the lessons and after them. Explanation combined with a practical method (using muppets or a role-play) proved to be the most effective approach. The results acquired through the analysis of assessment scales were additionally strengthened by the findings of direct monitoring and the interviews of the student’s teachers and parents. At the end of the thesis, I presented the advantages of using social stories that I observed throughout the case study.