How to Write a Social Story
Rogers Bridge » How to Write a Social Story – Halloween Themed
Occupational and speech therapists often provide parents with insight into their child’s reactions, emotions, and behaviors. While participating in therapy, parents will learn many strategies that will help their child make progress towards their therapy goals.
Progress takes time.
But sometimes parents need to devise solutions on their own. What happens when you are concerned that your child is placing themselves in a dangerous situation or you know a meltdown is imminent because you are taking your child somewhere new?
Social stories are used to help children develop skills that help them experience novel environments or situations in a positive way. It is a social learning tool that provides an exchange of information.
It is important to write the social story to fit an individual’s needs. Since we work with children, we use short and direct information. While it is common that therapists or teachers frequently write social stories, sometimes you need a social story right away and waiting until you see your occupational or speech therapist isn’t an option. Do not feel like only your therapist can write the story. Anyone can write a social story and we want to empower our parents with the tools they need to help their child during situations that are difficult or dangerous.
The primary goal of a social story is to make something easier for the child by reducing anxiety.
Social stories can target dangerous situations like unbuckling their seatbelt or running into the road. We can also target new experiences like going to a birthday party or going trick or treating for the first time. The story should use the child’s name, be very specific, and use positive language. The social story will be more effective if you can make the story as realistic as possible by using real pictures of people and locations.
Social stories are not hard to write but they do require forethought and planning. It is best if the story can be reviewed with the child several times before the event occurs. If you have a birthday party planned on Saturday, read the social story every day including right before you go to the party. If you are using a social story to help eradicate a dangerous behavior, the story should be reviewed frequently especially prior to placing the child in the environment where the dangerous behavior occurs.
While social stories are not hard to write, sometimes it is easier to see an example. Don’t worry if your story is not exactly right. If your information is clear, positive, used consistently and targets a specific goal, your social story should be successful.
Since Halloween is just around the corner, here is an example of a social story explaining how to go trick or treating. Notice the clear and concise information presented that clearly explains what will happen and what is expected from the child. This story was written for a child that has some communication and ability to follow directions. Social stories are written at the child’s level.
If you are concerned about your child’s ability to regulate themselves, understand spoken language, or communicate clearly with others, please give us a call. We offer free phone consultations to help.
"Jessie is such a loving and caring therapist. Her passion for helping her patients and families show every visit. She is open to what works for each patient while being effective and productive. She is responsive and able to adapt to her patient's moods. Speech therapy has never been my son's favorite, and he has been to known to be a bit difficult, but it never slowed Jessie down. She was always so loving and made the sessions fun for him. I would recommend her to anyone looking for a great therapist." – Belinda