Social stories are short stories that depict a social situation and teach a child how to behave accordingly. This idea was first developed keeping in mind the need for children with Asperger’s syndrome and Autism spectrum disorder. Today most of the parents teach their children behavioral manners with the help of social stories.
The concept of social stories first came to light in the early ‘90s. The early concept was adopted to help special needs children who faced communication disabilities. But day by day, its vast popularity made it possible to reach out to every child. The very basic behavioral knowledge is taught through these stories. All the visual representations by pictures precisely tell a kid what to do. Kids learn these things with great enthusiasm and excitement. Nonetheless, it’s a great approach to teach them manners and social situations.
But to get the most out of it, you need to make sure that you are doing it the right way. Often children get confused with these social stories rather than enjoying them.
So, hop on board as we go into further details of what social stories can actually do.
IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL STORY
The main purpose of these social stories is to prepare the children for their daily life activities. To put things into perspective here are things that can be achieved by social stories:-
To Face Real Life Situations
Social stories help the children deal with particular situations that are usually difficult for them. Children with ASD, in particular, take a long time to understand various topics. You can find free social stories for autism online, but sometimes it is best to tell them tailor-made stories.
Also, it ensures that they deal with things in a safe manner. These highly functional social stories help them to understand how to get ready for bed, dressing up, bathing, etc.
For Improved Social Interaction
Social stories are written in simple words so that the children find it easy to understand. Also, they omit complexities and focus more on a certain behavior that children may encounter frequently.
Thus, these stories prepare them for the future. A social cue or detailed information is also found precisely in these stories.
Now that we have shed light on the importance of the social stories, let’s talk about how to use one.
We are going to give you 10 tips on how you can effectively use these social stories even for children with ASD.
1. INVOLVE LOTS OF PICTURES & EASY LANGUAGE
Since the stories are meant for your kids, the first thing you have to maintain is the tone. Keep it simple and to their level. Children get more attracted to the visuals rather than the writings.
Your child will be more interested in the story if pictures are added to it. This will also help them to understand the topic and message of the story easily. One sentence per picture will be the ideal choice.
2. ONE TOPIC FOR ONE STORY
One thing you should definitely avoid is to confuse your kid with lots of ideas and themes. It’s better to stick with one theme for one story. For instance, if you are teaching him about bathing, then only talk about things related to bathing like which soap to use, how to clean properly, how to scrub his back, etc. Come up with the themes one at a time.
3. CHOOSE DIFFERENT STORIES
It’s important to broaden your child’s outlook. If you always keep telling him the same kind of stories, eventually he will get bored.
Also, you are shortening his way of viewing the world. So, try to come up with ideas that serve different purposes. He will also find amusement while learning.
4. BREAK UP YOUR STORY INTO PARTS
Your child will have limited language skills. So, don’t confuse them with a brief story. Instead of telling them all at once, try to break it down to parts. That way, you can tell them part by part, and they will be able to capture the whole point of the story. Once they seem to catch up, you may not need to break it down anymore.
5. COME UP WITH NEW CONCEPTS IN EACH STORY
Versatility is important while choosing social stories. You want to convey as many messages as you can. Coming up with new concepts will increase their enthusiasm. They will grow the habit of learning something new every day. This is something you should really want to see in your kids.
6. CHOOSE POSITIVE STORIES
What ideas you insert in that tiny little head of your child will form his behavior. So, be careful to spread positivity. This will refine their character in the later years of life.
It’s difficult to ignore negatives completely. But try to focus more on the good things, the positive things. Your stories should contain much “DOs” and less “DON’Ts.”
7. TELL SOCIAL STORIES ABOUT APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR
Learning how to behave around people is very important. Often parents seem to focus more on the daily chores and forget this necessary point.
Besides teaching them how to behave with family members, you should also teach them what to do and what to avoid in certain situations. This will help them to mind their manners, among others.
8. TELL STORIES ABOUT EXPRESSING THEIR EMOTIONS AND THOUGHTS
Learning to express oneself is vital. Your child should know the proper way of reacting. If you fail to teach him these, he may freak out, scream, throw things at others.
He won’t know how to deal with situations like stress unless you show him the way.
He will have a better understanding of his emotions if you familiarise him with these situations through stories.
9. TELL STORIES TO QUELL THEIR FEARS
Sometimes we might try to scare the children through stories to make them listen to us. It may be regarding eating, sleeping, or watching TV. But it is also important to let them know about the lies of those made-up stories. Otherwise, they will hold onto those thoughts even after growing up.
10. USE A STORY TO HELP THE CHILD PREPARE FOR A VISIT TO THE DOCTOR
Being afraid of doctors is a common thing for children. To overcome their fear, tell them stories about doctors in a funny way. Thus, they will be eager to go to the doctors and won’t be afraid anymore. Try to form a picture of doctors where doctors are kind to the children and make them laugh.
These are the quick tips that you should keep in mind while telling your children social stories. Make sure to be creative while choosing stories. You should impose more importance on those stories that will help your children to cope with changes in the future.