Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Prevent Problems, Improve Behavior, and Teach Skills Through Social or Behavior Stories

A teen needs to attend his grandfather's funeral, and has no idea how to behave.

A tween girl struggles to finish her lunch in the chaos of a middle school cafeteria.

An adult needs to learn what to do during a job interview.

The solution to each of these situations is a social or behavior story. Social stories were created by Carol Gray, and you can learn more about them on her site.

Social stories (also called behavior stories) are used to change behavior. The parent or teacher can use them to prepare children for changes or unusual events like fire drills. They can teach appropriate reactions to challenging situations and reinforce good behaviors. Children with disabilities can learn to review them on their own and increase their independence.

These stories can involve pictures for children who are too young to read, a combination for beginning readers, or all text for older kids and adults. Review them prior to the event, or when skills need reinforcing.

You can write your own social stories, find some that have already been created, or modify those others have used. Here are some resources to get you started:

The Autism Spectrum Directory Blog has many on a wide variety of topics.

The Head Start Center for Inclusion has some for download.

Kids Can Dream also has quite a few that you can use as-is, or tailor to your needs.

PBIS has many resources with samples and methods to help you write your own.

Polk Elementary has samples plus PECs pictures you can use in your story.

Teachers Pay Teachers has stories that are sortable by topic and grade. Some are free, others are offered at a nominal cost.

The Watson Institute has many pre-written stories that may be easily modified.