A social story is a simple method that may be used at home, school, or in the community to teach or maintain social skills, daily living skills, or behavior management skills of kids with Aspergers and High Functioning Autism HFA.
Contributed by Beverly Vicker A frequent positive programming recommendation for an individual with autism, Asperger's syndrome, or other pervasive developmental disorders is that the family or the staff of an agency develop one or more "social stories" to present particular information or to address specific situations.
Such a recommendation may reflect either a proactive or reactive programming stance. Regardless of its purpose, the development and use of social stories is often a task that is underestimated in terms of its complexity, or one that may simply be misunderstood.
This article will attempt to identify some of the issues that should be considered when using this intervention tool. Trainings about the development and use of social stories can be quite varied experiences on the inservice market.
This may occur because "social stories" is both a program-specific term and a generic term. The program-specific term was initially used by Carol Gray as a descriptor for her intervention strategies. Gray has presented her information at many conferences and has published various print resources regarding the programming and materials developed and piloted within her school district.
The informal intervention concept pre-dates the program introduced by Gray. The informal "stories" may or may not be stories in the sense of having a plot or a narrative form.
Rather, they may be descriptive of a situation, or may outline the steps in a sequence or process. Some forms might be called "social scripts. Whether one chooses to follow Gray's program or not, much can be learned by looking at her program and at the considerations regarding its implementation.
The development of social stories, as defined by Gray, places a central focus on writing the stories in a positive tone.
A given story may have an impact on the reduction of a specific behavior because of the information and insight it provides for the person with autism. The stories are not meant to be judgmental or to be strongly directive.
In order to avoid the latter tone, Gray developed her published guidelines regarding the ratio of sentence types for each social story. The stories try to help the person with a autism spectrum disorder have a better understanding of the parameters of a problem situation and to have some idea of how to cope, manage, or operate within that situation.
Social stories usually are not a unilateral means of changing behavior or the performance of the person with autism, however. More typically, social stories may represent only one intervention strategy out of several that may be needed in order to impact or reverse a given situation.
For example, if John experiences much frustration in the classroom and he releases some of his tension by hitting other students on the playground, his positive program might involve many components.
It might include a social story about being a good friend and sharing, but it may also include a reassessment of his academic skills and the subsequent addition of extra academic support, the adaptation of work assignments, inservice training for support staff to increase daily instances of positive interaction, general instruction regarding social skills, and specific teaching of playground games and rules in order to facilitate successful outdoor play.
The social story might not be effective enough by itself to modify a complex situation such as John's frustration and aggression, but it might have a powerful impact when combined with other tailored strategies.
Factors to consider when writing a social story for an individual include the following: Know that social stories will not work with everyone.Social Animal How the new sciences of human nature can help make sense of a life. Writing and Using Social Narratives in All Environments Contributed by Kristie Brown Lofland, M.S., CCC-A.
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Personal site of author-editor Pat McNees, personal historian and medical historian, bringing a light touch to heavy subjects, helping people and organizations tell their life stories. Help with Opening PDF Files. Help your students children classify ideas and communicate more effectively.
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