World Autism Awareness Day takes place on Thursday 2nd April, designed to spread awareness and increase acceptance of people on the autistic spectrum.
Created by Dr Carol Gray almost two decades ago, the use of Social Stories can help improve the social skills of children with autism, helping them to deal with new or unfamiliar social events. And we are challenging you to create your own!
They descript a social story as ‘a narrative made to illustrate certain situations and problems and how people deal with them. They help children with autism understand social norms and learn how to communicate with others appropriately…. learning what to do and what not to do when faced with unfamiliar situations.’
- Helping children learn self-care and social skills.
- Allowing children with special needs to understand their behaviour as well as others.
- Assists autistic children in understanding emotions and how to address them.
- Helps children on the spectrum cope with various changes and everyday life transitions.
- Encourages children to develop relationships.
- Reinforces acceptable behaviour.
- Teachers autistic children how to join in activities and play with others.
- Provides tools to teach children with special needs how to make and maintain friendships.
Social stories must have a specific end goal in mind, directing the child to the desired behaviour. They should be accurate, relevant and interesting, using positive language with simple, encouraging words.
(Image from Autism Parent Magazine)
Examples of stories include:
- Personal space – understanding the concept
- Understanding boundaries – for example, why you should not hit people
- Making friends
- Stealing – why the behaviour must be corrected
- Potty training – developing the key hygiene skill
- Anxiety – helping the child through bouts of stress and worry
- Transition – moving from one activity, large or small, to another.
We would like you to attempt writing your own social story!
It can be based upon any situation, as long as it incorporates the key concepts above. What social story could you create that will be useful to someone else?
You can create your story by hand, produce it on a computer/laptop, or even use an App such as ‘Social Stories’.
Thank you for taking part!