content-left-bg.png
content-right-bg.png

Scripting

WebPartZone1_1
PublishingPageContent

What is it?

Behaviours sometimes arise when students are unable to express their needs and wants in typical ways. Some students need explicit instruction and careful modelling of appropriate conversation starters, responses, requests and comments in order to be able to cope in the classroom and other social situations. Scripting is a way of teaching students (particularly those with autism) to initiate and participate in interactions by developing and learning a script. The scripts are (generally) written about a specific skill or situation in which the student requires support. The script provides a model for the student to allow them to anticipate what may occur during a social or other activity and the words to help them to participate appropriately. Scripts are usually practiced repeatedly before use in the activity. Scripts are somewhat related to social narratives but provide much more information about the words the students should use in an interaction. Scripting is also sometimes used in conjunction with video modelling.

NB: 'Scripting' has sometimes been used to described delayed echolalia (repeating words, sentences or dialogue from other people, or from movies, TV or books). Echolalia may be used by people on the autism spectrum as a way of coping, or as a way of participating in communicative exchanges when difficulties in receptive and expressive language limit their ability to understand what is expected and generate spontaneous responses. Echolalia may be a strength or useful attribute for learning for some students. Echolalic scripting is different to the type of deliberate scripting for teaching described here.

What is the evidence?

Scripting is recognised as an evidence based practice with several single case experimental design studies and one group study supporting its use.

How do I use it?

The steps in developing a script include:

  • choosing a target activity
  • observing typically developing students
  • choosing a learning outcome for the student
  • writing the script (based on the language observed in typically developing students)
  • teaching the script
  • implementing the script in the target activity
  • fading the script once learned and implemented.

Scripting can be used in conjunction with social narratives, video modelling and/or visual supports to support students' learning and generalisation of the skills.

Scripting can be used to support behaviours that challenge in the following ways:

Escape/Avoid social situation with adult

  • Students can be taught a script to appropriately finish a conversation.
  • Students can be taught a script to appropriately avoid social contact.
  • Students can be taught a script to appropriately excuse themselves from a social situation.

Escape/Avoid social situation with child

  • Students can be taught a script to appropriately finish a conversation.
  • Students can be taught a script to appropriately avoid social contact.
  • Students can be taught a script to appropriately excuse themselves from a social situation.

Escape/Avoid stimulation or sensation

  • Students can be taught a script to appropriately leave an overwhelming sensory environment.
  • Students can be taught a script to appropriately avoid an overwhelming or uncomfortable sensory environment.

Escape/Avoid item or activity

  • Students can be taught a script to appropriately leave an activity that is unpleasant or non-preferred.
  • Students can be taught a script to appropriately avoid an activity or item that is unpleasant or non-preferred.

Obtain-Get stimulation or sensation

Observation, assessment and discussion with the student and parent may be needed to determine what types of sensory input the child is seeking (e.g. visual, auditory, smell, taste, touch, pressure or movement). 

  • Students can be taught a script to appropriately request access to a preferred sensory experience, activity or item.

Obtain/Get item or activity

Further assessment, observation and discussion may be needed to obtain specific detail about the types of objects and activities the student wishes to obtain. There may also be a need to determine activities or objects that are acceptable alternatives in the classroom.

  • Students can be taught a script to appropriately request access to a preferred activity or item.

Obtain/Get social situation with adult

  • Students can be taught a script to appropriately initiate an interaction with an adult.
  • Students can be taught a script to appropriately participate in an interaction with an adult.

Obtain-Get social situation with child

  • Students can be taught a script to appropriately initiate an interaction with a peer.
  • Students can be taught a script to appropriately participate in an interaction with a peer.

Age group

All ages, with different styles, wording and visual supports used as the student moves through school.

PreschoolYes
P-2Yes
3-6Yes
High schoolYes

Where can I learn more?

WebPartZone1_2
WebPartZone2_1
WebPartZone2_2
WebPartZone2_3
WebPartZone3_1
WebPartZone3_2
WebPartZone3_3
WebPartZone3_4
WebPartZone4_1
WebPartZone5_1
WebPartZone5_2
WebPartZone6_1
WebPartZone6_2
WebPartZone7_1
WebPartZone7_2
WebPartZone8_1
WebPartZone8_2
WebPartZone9_1
Last updated 24 September 2020