Sunday, August 18, 2013

Social Stories, Electronic Style

One of the most helpful tools I've found to help deal with James' anxiety and to prepare him for new things is the use of Social Stories. Sometimes I can get lucky and find them online. Sometimes I have to make up my own.

There are sites like these out there - just search the web!

At first, I thought I'd write them down nicely, find some illustrations, and staple them together in a book, so we could keep using them. Yeah, well, I know. We all learn by doing, right?

Most of the I do with James Social Stories are verbal, with a few visual aides to help anchor the message. Some children's books out there make great Social Stories. Curious George is great for us, because the messages in those stories are great for James, and he loves to memorize them. I am a big fan of such  TV episodes as "Doctor Monkey" (because for a while, James was anxious about going to the doctor's office), and "Curious George On TIme" (which helped us learn about time, paralleling his class work).

I've also found that videos can be a great planning tool and animated Social Story device for James. I was reminded of that this morning, when he wanted to watch Disneyland rides using YouTube. I started using the videos to prep him for going on new rides he might not have wanted to try without first "riding" them in the safety of his own home.

It's not foolproof, but the success rate for James trying a new ride is much higher if he can preview them. I think the best example of that was Radiator Springs Racers. I knew that the fast speed, ups and downs, and lack of control during the ride would be hard for him to deal with. The fact that we were in a car-like vehicle, coupled with his repeated advanced viewing of the ride meant that the new ride quickly became a new favourite ride.

What other kinds of Social Stories have you found to be successful?

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