I’m so excited to share this post from Maria Del Duca, M.S. CCC-SLP at Communication Station: Speech Therapy, PLLC. Enjoy! And stick around to the very bottom, I have a big sale coming!
Today I wanted to share with you my feelings as a mom and an SLP on how I use social stories in my own child’s life. I know most people feel that social stories are to be used to help persons with ASD navigate new situations while reducing anxiety and stress. But who says social stories are only for those diagnosed on the autism spectrum?
Over the years I have used social stories for children with ASD and I have noticed how much this technique helps children transition and participate in new situations while reducing or even eliminating anxiety. So when I became a mom, I realized how easy and helpful it is to carryover the use of so many speech and language techniques with my own child. Yes, I have therapized my son! Come on SLP mom’s out there…you know you’ve done it too! Ha!
So when big changes are about to happen in my son’s life I get on my computer and make him a social story that we read over and over until he knows exactly what will be happening. I think, as adults, we underestimate how sensitive very young children are to change or we assume they can’t understand. But trust me, if you begin to use social stories with your child you may be surprised by the type and amount of questions your child asks you about the change you are discussing. I know I was.
Below is just one example of a social story I made for my son. This is a story about our move from KS to AZ last year. He was almost two years old at the time I made this story. As you can see I used as many real pictures as I could. We read his “moving story” over and over, sometimes 4 or 5 times a day for months. And he was asking numerous questions about the move (e.g. “My toys in boxes?”, “That new house?” etc.).
Here are my rules for using social stories with your child at home:
1. Social stories should be accessible to the child at all times. (You never really know when that child is thinking about that topic so you may be surprised as how often the child wants to read a particular story)
2. Social stories must be read frequently (possibly numerous times a day) and often (daily, or several times a week over the span of weeks or months).
3. Follow your child’s lead when reading social stories. You may find your child stops on a particular page or asks questions about the same part in the story. This indicates your child is very concerned or interested in this part of the story. Spend as much time as you need to discuss all aspects of that particular page or event.
So the next time you are getting ready to experience some real change in your household, stop and think about the effects it may have on your children. Take a few minutes to make a quick social story you can read to them, to discuss all the changes that lie ahead. I promise you it will be time very well spent!
Maria Del Duca, M.S. CCC-SLP, is a pediatric speech-language pathologist in southern, Arizona. She owns a private practice, Communication Station: Speech Therapy, PLLC, and has a speech and language blog under the same name. Maria writes a monthly column on all topics related to child development, titled Kid Confidential, on the American Speech-Language and Hearing Associations blog, ASHAspere. She has experience in various settings such as private practice, hospital and school environments and has practiced speech pathology in NJ, MD, KS and now AZ. Maria has a passion for early childhood, autism spectrum disorders, rare syndromes, and childhood Apraxia of speech. For more information, visit her blog or find her on Facebook.
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