My Social Story

I am a big believer in social stories. I think they are probably one of the most underutilized tools for all children. My theory is because they require a fair bit of customized attention to detail for the recipient they are eschewed as being too labor intensive. We tend to like things that can be reused like hand-me-down clothing. In other words we’re kind of lazy.

I first learned about social stories before the child was officially diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. We were in that scary middle ground when we knew there was a lot more to learn but we had no idea what we were really facing. Many of you have been there. The child was becoming quite aggressive to her peers during this time and we were grasping at straws (literally – she had an obsession with straws, but I digress) to figure out how to help her learn to be kind. One of the things we figured out was a trigger was that she didn’t like celebrating other kids’ birthdays at preschool. She wanted it to be her birthday. Having just learned about social stories I decided to write one about how to celebrate other kids’ birthdays. Long story short – it worked! That trigger was taken care of…of course there were lots of others, and some that we’re still trying to figure out.

Anyway, the other day I was thinking that I need to write a social story for myself. I think I mentioned last week that I’ve been having a harder time, lately, with staying calm when faced with the child’s behavior at home. If social stories work for her then they should work for me, too, right? Here goes:

My name is Mama.

I live in a house with three noisy and messy children. I am their Mama. I can be a good example to them of how to be calm and kind even when I am angry.

When I am in a hurry and they do not want to help, I can use my words to ask them nicely. If they will not listen I can count down from five and then kindly help them do what I’m asking them to do. When they start to help me I can say, “Thank You!”

When I am in a hurry and they DO want to help, but I don’t want them to, I can use my words to ask them to find something else to do. I can think of something that I DO want them to do to be helpful. When they help me in a way I want them to I can say, “Good work! You’re awesome!”

When the oldest child is talking to me and is pretty much using the words “pretty much” every other word I can pretty much try not to notice and pretty much be a kind and pretty much patient mama and pretty much just listen to the words that aren’t “pretty much.”

When there is too much work to do and I am feeling overwhelmed and one of the children comes and needs something even more from me, I can be glad that they are learning to tell me what they need. I can take a deep breath and be happy that I can do things that make them happy. I can remember that there is always too much work but that my children will not always be children.

I want my children to be happy, and I am the best person to show them how to be happy.

Now to read it over and over until it sinks in and begins to change my behavior.

What would a page from your social story look like?

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