Using The Decider Skills with individuals with Autism Spectrum Conditions

The Decider Skills are for everyone - adults, young people and children.

We are often asked if The Decider Skills can be used with individuals with ASC/ASD.

Our approach is for clinicians and teachers to learn the skills so that they can then pitch their teaching to suit their client or student needs.

If you are a teacher, you will know how best to pitch your teaching because you know your student. It means that the skills can be taught to children, young people and adults, even if they have different presentations.  


The manual is not rigid. We give you the 'tools' and you then decide how to adapt the teaching to suit them and to make it a creative, individualised, person centred approach to learning the skills. It is a collaborative way of working which enables clinicians and teachers and empowers clients and students.


This is especially important for people with autism, as there is no 'one size fits all'.


For a person with an ASC/ASD, the teaching and practising of the skills may take more time – and bear in mind the recommended adaptations below.


CBT Adaptations for ASD - adults (Spain et al 2015)

  • Increased number of sessions (10-17)
  • More visual cues and written material
  • Avoid colloquialisms
  • Experiential tasks
  • Increased compliance with homework


Other recommendations (links below):

  • Use written and visual information
  • Use concrete, simplified techniques for cognitive strategies
  • Use special interests
  • Involve parents and carers throughout
  • Shorter sessions
  • Use variety of media and technologies
  • Evidence based - use of "scientific mind"
  • Multiple strategies - physical, behavioural, social
  • Enjoyable
  • Right development level
  • Focus on practical and visual learning
  • Extra time
  • Therapist flexibility and creativity


The Decider Skills include all the above suggestions and can be adapted to suit each individual - Matching the Skills


The most important factor is YOU ! Your need to be flexible and creative, to make the skills understandable and meaningful and to bring the skills alive for your clients.


Some advice from a specialist clinician in NHS Highland:

I've enjoyed using The Decider Skills for people on the Autism spectrum, a fantastic resource!
In my opinion it's a very useful approach to use with ASD due  to it being so visual and we know that many autistic people are visual learners. I do believe it makes positive impact in ASD, particularly with regard to providing coping strategies/ practical tips and even scripts to deal with particular situations pertaining to their individual circumstances. 
Here are some examples of the practical measures that I've taken to adapt and consider ASD presentations:

  • Swapping the glass jars and beads for plastic jars and coloured small pom-poms (to decrease noise volume and clonkiness when each bead is transferred)
  • To let the individual with ASD know when a role play session starts and ends (it seems obvious but there was one guy who felt so sorry for me as he thought I was really giving the last of my money away)
  • Give a visual timetable in advance to allow the individual to familiarise and prepare prior to the sessions (I've been limiting these to two skills per session to enable adequate processing and practise time and limiting session time to one hour to ensure decent concentration levels)

These are just a few examples which have proved helpful.  I guess to summarise there's slightly more emphasis on visual and reduction of auditory stimulus when delivering The Decider Skills. 


See also:

STOPP Skill page

HELP page - for yourself or as a supporter


If you prefer music-free videos of the Web App:

The Decider 12 Life Skills videos

The Decider 32 Skills videos




References for above recommendations:

See further resources here

Click here