Read these 4 Social Stories for Individuals with Autism Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Autism tips and hundreds of other topics.
While there a several books on the market which provide social stories for common everyday activities, such as brushing teeth or waiting in line, the best source for social stories is you. You know what situations your child will need to be prepared for. In addition to the basic guidelines given in the previous LifeTip entitled "Social Stories", here are few other pointers on perfecting and using social stories:
Carol Grey developed social stories to help individuals with an autism spectrum disorder navigate through social situations. The social stories work in a number of ways to make some experiences less stressful for the individual. They are specifically designed to help the individual recognize social cues as well as what to expect in the situation. The social story is written from the student's perspective to help him internalize the words. It also helps the student recognize other people's emotions as well. The structure of social stories involves four types of sentences: descriptive, perspective, directive and control sentences. The descriptive sentences provide information about where and when the activity will take place as well as who will be involved. For example, "Sometimes I want to say something to my teacher when I am in class." The perspective sentences in social stories helps the individual recognize emotions and thoughts that others might have during the activity. For example, "My teacher is happy when I raise my hand before talking." The directive sentences help the student understand what is expected of him. For example, "When I want to say something, I raise my hand." Finally, the control sentence is one that the student can write himself. This sentence is not used in all social stories but it is helpful in making the story memorable to the student.
The Theory of Mind recognizes that people with autism have difficulty understanding that other individuals have different thoughts, interests and feelings than they do. The autistic individual assumes that everyone experiences and thinks the same as he does. The Theory of Mind may explain why an individual with autism seems to lack empathy. The autistic person does not lack empathy because he is indifferent but because he is simply unaware of the other person's perspective and emotions. There are ways to help an individual with autism recognize the unique feelings of others. Using social stories is a great approach for building understanding that other people have different feelings. Emotion drills in discrete trial can also be used to explore feelings. The therapist can present scenarios that can be explained and the therapist can use images of faces showing different emotions and have the child choose which face goes with which situation.
One of the most valuable tools that can be used to prepare for stressful or unfamiliar situations is social stories developed by Carol Gray. These stories are effective in helping the individual with autism learn about what to expect in a situation--not just what will happen, but what is expected of them, too. The person with autism uses a script to help him anticipate the events that are about to occur. This is a valuable way to ease stress in unfamiliar surroundings. The social stories are also useful in helping the individual with autism understand what others around him might be thinking and feeling. The social stories serve as a guide that helps the individual with autism rehearse what to say and what actions to take in the community setting. The focus of the stories is on the various "Wh" questions that are so baffling to individuals on the autism spectrum: who, what, where, and when. The stories detail where and when the community outing will take place. They describe who will be there and what activities will occur, and what behaviors are appropriate. Stories can be adapted to suit everyone's needs, regardless of where a person may fall on the spectrum.