What is a social story?
It’s a brief story of that describes a situation, for example, a girl comes home and finds her bike has been stolen. It is explained to the child how the girl would feel (sad) and how we would know what she is feeling. There are hundreds of social stories available for sale for teaching children with Autism. You can also write your own. The authors of the OAISIS Guide to Asperger Syndrome suggest using two or three times as many descriptive sentences as directives. Here is one example from their book,
“Sometimes a person says, ‘I changed my mind’. This means they had one idea but now they have a new idea. There are many situations where a person may say, ‘I changed my mind.’ It is safe for someone to change their mind or want to do something else. Sometimes the new idea or he new thing they want to do is better than the old one. “
Directive: I will work on staying calm when someone changes their mind.
Note it is phrased “I will work on …. ” as opposed to “I will always…”
People with Autism talk about the stress of trying to perform, to act in the way they are expected. Setting impossible standards such as “I will always stay calm” increases the child’s stress. It is impossible to always stay calm. We don’t really mean that. That is one of the central problems of Autism, though. Children don’t understand what we mean when it is different from what we say.