Sunday, June 1, 2014

How to Write a Social Story, Revisited

Remember back when I couldn't write a social story to save my life? Well, Sky's third-grade IEP team wrote social stories for him to use when riding the bus, when unsure of what to do on classwork, when he has to take a standardized test, when someone is mean to him, when he's on a field trip, in preparation for the school concert, and for the transition to summer vacation. In other words, we've read and discussed a lot of social stories this year, and thanks to them, I think I finally understand what goes into one. You know what else I'm slowly starting to figure out? That it's pretty important to think ahead and write these stories BEFORE they are actually needed.

One of Sky's social stories from school.
This week, I've had the chance to put these new-found skills to work as we prepare to fly to Japan (I'll save the saga of finding a house-sitter and buying tickets and hotel rooms for a family of five visiting Japan for a later post). If I've learned anything incredibly slowly over the past three years (since Sky's diagnosis and the early intervention therapies for Sky), it's that preparing them for new situations helps a lot.

As I was thinking through all the things that needed to get done before we leave, I remembered this app, Stories2Learn. With it, you can use pre-made stories or create your own by taking your own pictures, downloading images from the internet, or pulling from your photo stream. Below is the social story I made using this app to help prepare the kids for flying. (All pictures are not my own and were taken from the internet.)

Did you notice how many times I included the words "quiet" and "patient"? A mom can hope, can't she?Another important thing I've realized is that these stories are a form of positive imaging. They not only help the kids understand what will happen, but they also give them positive and useful ways to handle new and sometimes scary situations.  

The downsides to this app are that it costs a whopping $13.99 (outrageously expensive as far as apps go), and it is not as flexible as I would like. Once you make a page, you can't easily edit it, and if you try to add pages into the middle of the story later, it leads to random ordering that can only be fixed by deleting the whole story and starting from scratch. That said, it's great for making social stories. The kids love that I can include realistic and appropriate pictures. Here's hoping it helps!

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