Using stories to teach social concepts
If you have worked with students with autism or other disabilities, it doesn’t take long before you find out the value of a good story to teach social situations. “Social Stories” is actually a trademark of Carol Gray who first developed the idea and gives conferences and trainings on how to write and use them. In her words, “The goal of a Social Story™ is to share accurate social information in a patient and reassuring manner that is easily understood by its audience.” She has developed a site that has more information then what I can possibly put here and I wouldn’t want to violate her trademark. So go to Carol’s site to find out more information on how to actually write one.
I have used stories to help students correct challenging behaviors or deal with new situations. They can be written for all levels of development. They can be made as a picture book or in just written form. You can even use technology with program like ‘Power Point”. If you add a switch a child with physical limitations can turn pages independently. Sometimes real pictures are helpful. We’ve taken pictures of staff and the building to prepare a student for transition to a new school. They’ve been useful for getting children to line up and return from the playground, and wait their turn. An important thing to remember is to focus on the positive. Let the child know what behavior you want them to do and what to expect. Don’t emphasize the bad behavior. A child that is hitting for attention may actually need a story on how to ask someone for a turn or to play with them rather than “We don’t hit”.
There are many sites with already made stories. They can be a resource for downloading or writing your own stories. I have found stories on “Speaking of Speech“,”Boardmaker share“,and One Place for Special Needs. I’ve added a comic strip maker to the tool section. This would be a great tool for older elementary or middle school students who might like writing their own stories.