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What is a “social story” and how is it used?


What is a “social story” and how is it used?


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 reassuring manner that is easily understood by its audience. Half of all social stories developed should affirm something that an individual does well. 

Although the goal of a story should never be to change the youngster’s behavior, that youngster’s improved understanding of events and expectations may lead to more effective responses. Although social stories were first developed for use with kids with Aspergers (high-functioning autism), the approach has also been successful with adolescents and adults with other social and communication delays and differences – as well as individuals developing normally.

Sample Social Story—

Frequently, kids with Aspergers expect things to be the same way that they first saw them. Such was the case with Jimmy, who expected to find the overhead projector in the classroom bathroom--just as it had been the first time he went there! He refused to use the bathroom unless the projector was in there, causing problems when the teacher was in the middle of a lesson using the projector in the classroom. Further complicating the issue was his insistence that the projector was needed to keep the bathroom free of bugs. Jimmy’s mother wrote the following story for him:

My name is Jimmy. I am an intelligent second grader at Cottonwood Elementary School. Sometimes, I have to use the bathroom. This is okay.

Bathrooms need to have a toilet or urinal, and maybe sinks. Sometimes, when people need to find a place to keep something until they need it, they might place it in the bathroom. My teacher keeps her overhead projector in the bathroom when she is not using it to make more room in the classroom. It's okay to store an overhead projector in the bathroom, but usually most bathrooms do not have overhead projectors in them.

Sometimes, my teacher uses the overhead projector to teach the kids. If she were to bring all the kids into the bathroom where the overhead projector is, it would be too crowded! So my teacher brings the overhead projector into the classroom to use it.

It's okay to use our bathroom with the overhead projector in it. It's also very okay and intelligent to use our bathroom when my teacher is using the overhead projector with the class.

The custodians work very hard to keep our bathrooms clean. They use disinfectant to keep everything nice for the kids. If the custodians notice bugs, like spiders, they might use bug spray. Bug spray, and other things that custodians have, are used to keep bathrooms free of spiders and things. People never use overhead projectors to keep an area free of spiders; it just would not work. If I should ever see a bug in the bathroom, it's okay to tell an adult. The adult may know how to use a tissue or toilet paper to get rid of the bug, or we may choose to use another bathroom.

Our Aspergers kids may need similar social stories for a wide variety of situations. Simply changing the topic and adapting the vocabulary and situation to accommodate your youngster's concerns will help to produce a social story that helps him to deal with a necessary change from his expectations.

My Aspergers Child: Preventing Meltdowns

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. I could use this to help my Aspie understand her college student sister who has tatoos, texts a lot and hangs out with friends a lot. I don't complain about it, because she is A- minus student, however, my Aspie kid finds her behavior intolerable.

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Teens on the Spectrum

Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children with ASD Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with ASD face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

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Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

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to read the full article...

Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

Click here for the full article...