How to Explain Autism Spectrum Disorder to a Child – Part 2

In this two-part series, I have rewritten the well-known fairy tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears with a character who has Autism Spectrum Disorder. This is to demonstrate some common traits that people on the spectrum might exhibit in everyday life.

While every person with ASD has varying levels of severity and presentation, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) to receive a diagnosis of ASD a person must meet the following criteria:

  • Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts
  • Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, activities
  • Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period
  • Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning
  • These deficits are not better explained by an intellectual disability or global developmental delay although these can be co-morbid conditions

For a more detailed description of each of these areas visit the CDC’s description of the DSM-5 Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnostic criteria.

These characteristics can be difficult to explain to young children who are either classmates, relatives or acquaintances of someone with ASD.

To use the story, first listen to the introduction in Part 1 until you are told to Pause. Then switch over and listen to the story read aloud (Part 2). You will be able to download a copy of the story with notes and without.

There is also a free download of guide you can use after reading or listening to the story with children to further help explain ASD to them and also give them an opportunity to learn how to interact with and help someone with ASD.

How to Explain Autism to Children Part 1

Update May 2021: Goldilocks and the Three Bears is being released as an illustrated children’s book via AAPC Publishing in late 2021. Stay tuned for more information!

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Amy Nielsen lives in Orlando, Florida. She is the proud mother of four children ranging in age from 5-33! She and her husband, Brent enjoy sports and traveling. Amy is a former teacher with nearly 20 years of experience, a freelance writer, and a special needs advocate. Her mission is to help educate and empower families of children with disabilities to focus on their child's interests and strengths.

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