By: Clarey Sharum, M.S., CCC-SLP/ Lauren Gebhard, M.S., CCC-SLP/ Lindsey Kehr, M.S. CFY-SLP
As the children come back to Little Light House this summer, things look a little different. Due to COVID-19, precautions have been established to keep us safe. However, these changes may be confusing or frustrating to some of our students. Children will see that adults are all wearing masks and may be difficult to recognize. The children have their temperatures checked before entering the building, and there are no volunteers inside the classroom. These are all changes from when the children were in school in February. Big changes such as these can cause anxiety, distress, difficulties, and even challenging behavior, especially in younger children. Instead of worrying about how your child will react to differences like these in his or her routine, set them up for success by writing a social story!
At Little Light House, we have learned the value of a social story. A social story is a short, simple story that uses words and pictures to explain specific situations, behaviors, social interactions, concepts, or skills that your child is, or will experience. They are powerful tools that can ease stress, as well as help children better understand situations that may be overwhelming or anxiety-provoking. They were originally designed for children on the Autism spectrum, but social stories can be used for any child experiencing difficulties in social situations. These situations can include but are not limited to: world events, doctor’s appointments, teaching a new routine, learning manners, the first day of school, going on a trip, teaching safety, etc.
It does not take a professional to write a social story! In fact, anyone can write one, and it only takes five steps! First, identify a topic for your story. Identify a situation your child may be having difficulties with. Second, write a title for your story. Third, create an introduction that clearly states the topic. Fourth, write a body that adds details to the story and explains strategies to help with the difficult situation. Finally, create a conclusion that summarizes the topic.
Tips to help you make a fun, educational social story include writing it from the child’s point of view, writing in the present tense, using simple language, and keeping it positive! Having pictures that are engaging and relevant can spark interest, as well as making it fun and creative for the child. For instance, using a child’s favorite character from a movie or a television show can help to reinforce the idea and make it more compelling for the child to read it over and over again.
How to Write a Social Story
Social Story on Wearing Masks