Social stories are a powerful and fun tool that can be used to help young students to understand and cope with different situations.
These skills teach students what is expected in social behaviors and different settings such as school, with friends, appointments, or shopping.
Goals of Social Stories
The goal of social stories is to focus on specific behaviors that students with developmental delays, autism, or those who struggle with social challenges to develop coping skills for these situations, reduce anxiety, and prepare them for the consequences of different behaviors.
As a Speech Therapist and parent of two Special needs sons, who required intensive Speech, Occupational and Physical therapy in all areas, I hope to bring a unique perspective to my posts.
Situations where Social Stories can be Used
Social stories can specifically help with:
- New experiences – first day at school, going on an airplane, going to a doctor or dentist
- Transitions – moving from one activity or environment to the next
- Social skills – sharing, taking turns, resolving conflicts
- Learning routines – bedtime routine, morning
- Setting expectations for behavior – visiting the library, road trips
- Specific behavioral issues – spitting, hitting, name-calling
What is Sequencing?
Sequencing, which is presenting a series of ideas in chronological order to assist the student to comprehend and anticipate each step of a situation and to evaluate what he has learned.
Social Story – A Visit to The Dentist or Doctor
A typical story about a visit to the dentist or doctor:
Prepare the student by telling them the name of the dentist/doctor, his special interest in working with students ,the route to the office dentist, and the layout of the reception area.
The options to avoid sitting with many people in the waiting room could be discussed.
When you are at the office, sit on the floor with the student if age-appropriate and reinforce the social stories with repetition and play with a toy stethoscope, plastic toy syringes, masks, and gloves.
It is recommended that a parent starts preparing the young students for the visit to the dentist/doctor two weeks before going to the appointment.
Parents as First Educators
Parents must be aware that they are the first educators and that their early input is essential to their student’s early development.
Once the student is at school, teachers and therapists must adopt a team approach and augment the parent’s input, and parents must still be involved with the therapy process.
Behavioral Issues and Social Stories
Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Psychotherapy are all used to address the behavioral issues that the student presents with.
Adaption of Social Stories for Different Students
The student’s behavior will vary the difficulties with which they present.
Students with Autism, delayed development, and/or Cerebral Palsy are prone to specific behaviors, such as anger outbursts, blaming others for their difficulties, anxiety regarding new situations, tearfulness, and fear of failure.
These students need different kinds of social stories for their unique challenges. Age, comprehension, and cognitive ability are important determinants for the adaption of social stories appropriate to them.
To reinforce the content of the social stories, charts with positive quotes can be valuable.
A User Manual for New Experiences
In conclusion, when adults want to learn something new or start a new experience, we often start with some sort of manual – a set of instructions with steps to follow, things to remember, and processes to learn.
Social stories can be miniature manuals for young students. At the Therapy Place we present these instructions through the art of storytelling so we can teach students about behavioral norms, routines, and expectations in an engaging and relatable way with the goal of enabling the students to self-regulate their behaviors in different situations so that they become socially appropriate.
The Therapy Place is here to help you in any way they can, please feel free to reach out to our friendly office at (848)285-5121.
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References: (APA 7th Edition)
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Logsdon, A. (n.d.). The important role of parents in special education. Verywellfamily.Com. Retrieved November 23, 2021, from https://www.verywellfamily.com/parental-importance-special-education-2162701
Pierce, R. (2020, December 17). How to write A social story (A step-by-step guide). Lifeskillsadvocate.Com. https://lifeskillsadvocate.com/blog/how-to-write-a-social-story/
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Social stories in special education – Watson institute. (n.d.). Thewatsoninstitute.Org. Retrieved November 23, 2021, from https://www.thewatsoninstitute.org/resources/behavior-stories/
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