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Social Stories

Picture of Adelina Gotera
Social Stories
by Adelina Gotera - Saturday, 6 October 2012, 7:23 PM
Listening to our parents and grandparents about their concerns regarding social behavior of their preschoolers, I thought of writing about Social Stories.

Social Stories is one of the most helpful methods for teaching social skills for children with autistic spectrum disorders as well as for typical children. This strategy was developed by Carol Gray. A social story is a description of a social situation that includes the social cues and appropriate responses, and that is written for a specific situation for the individual child. It can be used for a variety of purposes, like, introducing changes and new routines, explaining reasons for the behaviors of others, and teaching situation-specific social skills. It is useful for children who have a level of cognitive functioning that allows them to understand the story, and I believe most of our 3-5 year old children have this cognitive ability. To be effective, a social story should describe a situation from the perspective of the child, direct the child to do the appropriate behavior and be in the voice of the child (i.e., from the "I" perspective).

Social stories can be created by parents, grandparents, and any concerned adults or teachers. The process begins with identifying your child needs through observation and assessment. Once a difficult situation is identified, the parent author observes the situation and tries to understand the perspective of the child in terms of what will be seen, heard, and felt. The parent author then writes the story at an appropriate comprehension level and from the perspective of the child, and includes descriptive, directive and perspective statements.

The good news is that I was able to borrow from the Central Saanich Library an illustrated social story book with examples of social stories relating to social skills, people and pet, personal care, mealtime routine, helping around the house, outdoor games/activities, restaurants and shopping, understanding the weather and about holidays, vacations and recreations.

You are most welcome to borrow the book. Having used this strategy as a parent and an early childhood/special needs educator, let me assure you it is effective in promoting appropriate social behavior in young children.