With April 2nd being World Autism Awareness Day, I felt that it was timely to share a post about Social Stories!
I first heard of Social Stories more than a decade ago when I was new to teaching children with ASD (Austism Spectrum Disorder). There were not many available to us to use with our students, and I was confused about why these stories were explicitly for our children with ASD when it seemed that other young children would benefit from having a ‘script’ to prepare them for new, real-life situations.
Carol Gray is the leader in the creation and definition of Social Stories. Here is how she explains what they are:
A Social Story™ describes a situation, skill, or concept in terms of relevant social cues, perspectives, and common responses in a specifically defined style and format. The goal of a Social Story™ is to share accurate social information in a patient and reassuring manner that is easily understood by its audience.
Social Stories are particularly useful for teaching appropriate behaviors and preparing children for transitions or change. Reading social stories helps them know what to expect and provides a script (of sorts) to make new situations more comfortable. I have used social stories to prepare students forreinforcing play skills (i.e. sharing and taking turns
- reinforcing daily routines (i.e. lining up, raising hand, getting dressed for outside)
- reinforcing play skills (i.e. sharing, taking turns)
- making transitions within the school from one room or activity to another
- making the transition in / out of the school at the beginning / end of the day
- a change in routine
- bus safety day when they normally do not take a bus
- going on field trips
- meeting a new Educational Assistant or teacher
This list could on. I can attest to the power of the social story. When a child is prepared ahead of time, the anxiety of new situations is removed or lessened, and behaviors are minimized. As teachers and educational assistants, we are often in the position of knowing what to expect in situations that are students do not. That knowledge is power.
I think of the social story as a non-medicinal solution to many of our students’ anxiety.
So how does a parent or teacher know if a Social Story will be effective? Carol Gray explains the details that must be attended to in its creation in this video:
Now, thanks to the explosion of resources available in Special Education and our ability to communicate on the Internet, Social Stories can be found for a variety of topics to suit many individuals with ASD, and are now being recognized as a tool for many children, many of whom do not have an ASD diagnosis.
This is where I need to mention my Dealing-With-Feelings series. Please know that while I, and many others have used them with students with autism, they are not Social Stories as described here. Social Stories are written specifically for an individual child, to address his or her specific learning goals at a given time. I believe that it is their common themes and high-yield strategies that make them useful for children with and without autism, alike. Kids with feelings are kids with feelings after all.
What are some resources you find helpful for children on the ASD Spectrum?
I’m a mom too Single mom of 9 yo twins, stepmom to 20 yo young lady, blogging about life, Autism and special needs