Autism and Special Needs
Tools that teach you to Succeed
SOCIAL STORIES REALLY WORK
Many people are concerned about using social stories but it's a really simple concept. You don't have to be some guru or master of special education or autism. One of the greatest things about social stories is how easy they are to use. As they say, simple is beautiful. There are many ways to write social stories and they all essentially do the same thing. The elements in the social story are typically as follows:
- Concepts you want your student to achieve
- Keep the words and sentences simple
- The story is always in the first person
The reader identifies with the story because it is done in the first person. For example, "I always remember to share my toys with my friends." This strategy helps the reader relate. If the story is about another character with a complex plot, the young reader typically won't identify with the story and won't master the skills you are hoping he or she will learn.
Many children with autism, aspergers and pdd nos are very visual learners. The illustrations help your student to remember and apply the skills you'd like him or her to learn.
Another important aspect is keeping your social story positive. Nobody likes to feel like they are wrong. Our goal with social stories is to show students appropriate behavior and strategies to do without condemning their behavior. Of course you can still point out inappropriate methods a child might be using, but remember to do so without a reprimanding tone.
For example it's OK to say "I use my words when I'm angry, not my hands."
But it's not a good idea to say "I do not use my hands when I'm angry because it makes my mommy sad and my friends won't like me."
Do you see the difference? The first statement has no feelings attached to it, while the second one comes across as making a child feel guilty and bad for what he does.
It's easy to make your own social stories and you can also purchase them. The benefit of purchasing them is that you know those ones are very effective, the illustrations are professional and you save yourself oodles of time. If you're one of those people who've made your own social stories then you know what we're talking about! You can spend hours and hours of time on just one social story book. And we all know that's not the only thing you have to do! Especially if you are a parent of a child on the autistic spectrum or a special educator or therapist.
There is no question that social stories really work. We hear it first hand from our customers every day. And every week we get flooded with requests to produce more and more social story books. We value feedback from our customers so please let us know what we can do to help. And if you have some great teaching strategies to share, please do so. The more we learn from each other, the more we're able to help our kids.