Monday, May 21, 2018

Social scripts

Social Stories  Social scripts are a social learning tool that supports the safe and
meaningful exchange of information between adults and learners who need additional support.
Written to help students deal with and understand difficult or confusing situations. Stories can be written to prepare students for upcoming events or to explain why other people act they do or what the rules are.

Social stories are most common with students who are on the autistic spectrum; however I also use them with other students when I see they need additional support. They are simple stories that help remind students about appropriate social behavior. 

What are social stories for?
Social scripts/ stories can be used to:
  •  develop self-care skills (eg how to clean teeth, wash hands or get dressed), social skills (eg sharing, asking for help, saying thank you, interrupting) and academic abilities
  •  help someone to understand how others might behave or respond in a particular situation
  •  help others understand the perspective of a person and why they may respond or behave in a particular way
  •  help a person to cope with changes to routine and unexpected or distressing events (eg absence of teacher, moving house, thunderstorms)
  •  provide positive feedback to a person about an area of strength or achievement in order to develop self-esteem
  •  as a behavioural strategy (eg what to do when angry, how to cope with obsessions).

I begin by identifying the behaviour that I want to modify.  For example, inappropriate hallway behaviour.  One particular student was having difficulty walking in the hallway quietly and keeping her hands off the wall.  Now that I have the behaviour identified, I go to Google.  

Sometimes I have to walk in the hallway.
I need to keep my voice and feet quiet in the hallway.
My hands stay at my sides.
It makes my teachers happy when I walk quietly in the hallway. 

I like to search for social stories that are already written so that I might not have to reinvent the wheel. I then adapt and personlised as needed,
I also include pictures to go with the story. These can be computer images or photos I have taken.

How do social stories/ scripts help?
    Social scripts/  stories present information in a literal, 'concrete' way, which may improve a person's understanding of a previously difficult or ambiguous situation or activity. The presentation and content can be adapted to meet different people's needs.
    They can help with sequencing (what comes next in a series of activities) and 'executive functioning' (planning and organising).    
    By providing information about what might happen in a particular situation, and some guidelines for behaviour, you can increase structure in a person's life and thereby reduce anxiety.
    Creating or using a social story can help you to understand how the autistic person perceives different situations.
    • Present the social story to the person at a time when everyone is feeling calm and relaxed, using a straightforward approach, eg I have written this story for you. It is about thunderstorms. Let's read it together now.
    • If it is preparing for a special event/ experience  make sure you have read through a few times before the event/experience

    Social storiesTM were created by Carol Gray in 1991. They are short descriptions of a particular situation, event or activity, which include specific information about what to expect in that situation and why.
    The terms 'social story' and 'social stories' are trademarks originated and owned by Carol Gray.

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