LITTLE PUDDINS: Social Stories – an important tool
THIS week my youngest, Max (2), has been recovering from an operation he has had in Crumlin Children’s Hospital, writes Amanda McGuinness.
As many of my readers will know, Max is my youngest of three sons, all of whom are autistic. As a result, I am well versed in preparing children with autism for change and for the big events happening in their lives.
There are many ways to prepare a child/adult with autism for change/transitions/life events. One of the most important tools you can have in your arsenal as a parent of a child with additional needs, more particularly a child with autism, is the ability to create and use Social Stories.
The concept of the Social Story™ was first developed by Carol Gray in 1989. Social Stories are a means to communicate clearly with a child/student with autism a context, skill or concept. The Social Story will help the child with autism have a sense of predictability about what is expected to happen, helping to reduce anxiety and ultimately help them cope.
I created a picture Social Story for Max about his visit to Crumlin, using images and terms he would understand. You can make social stories in many ways - the key focus should be that they meet the need of the child/student and they reflect clearly a context, transitions, life event.
There are several free Social Stories available for download over on my website www.littlepuddins.ie. A Visit to the Dentist Social Story I created is available on the website for free and is proving immensely popular. It is being used throughout the country and abroad in dental surgeries to help patients with autism understand what a visit to the dentist entails.
If you have any questions about using or creating Social Stories, feel free to contact me through my website.
Until next time,
*Amanda McGuinness is a special needs advocate, writer and blogger over on www.littlepuddins.ie and columnist with The Connaught Telegraph.