Perceptions of Teachers Using Social Stories for Children with Autism at Special Schools in Saudi Arabia

Faihan Alotaibi, Yota Dimitriadi, Andy Kempe


Social StoriesTM have been found to be an effective intervention in supporting the improvement of social capabilities for children with autism. However, there are no studies that discuss the possible cultural implications in their implementation and classroom use. For instance, there has been little discussion on the cultural connotations presented by the selected images or topics. Furthermore, no studies have explicitly studied the implications of employing Social Stories in countries which have a distinctive character due to the influence of religion, such as Saudi Arabia. In other words, no studies have reviewed how a person in Saudi Arabia may perceive a commercially purchased Social Stories in contrast to a person in, say, the United Kingdom.This study focuses on investigating the adoption of Social Stories as an intervention to improve the social skills of children with autism in the Saudi Arabia context. The study explores the perceptions of fifteen teachers from two special schools in Riyadh who work with children with autism and employ Social Stories with their children. The teachers were interviewed using semi-structured interviews and their views of the various factors that affect the use of Social Stories in social skills interventions were explored. Findings from this study indicate that the teachers were aware of what constituted Social Stories (that is, the concept) and of where they could be obtained in Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, they recognised the different barriers and factors contributing to the effective use of Social Stories. Culture, in particular, was highlighted as a significant potential barrier to the use of Social Stories. For instance, the depiction of dress code or items which are not permissible according to the Islamic laws of Saudi Arabia in the imagery used in Social Stories. Opportunities for further research were also provided.

Keywords: Social Stories; Autism; Teachers and Social Skills; Culture; Saudi Arabia.


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