Since Miles has been going to occupational therapy, I’ve become familiar with the phrase “social story.” My understanding of these is that I create a story for Miles related to an upcoming situation/outing/encounter that defines what will happen, who will be involved, our expectations of Miles, and what he can expect.
We’ve been using them for everything. It’s like blogging for kiddos or something.
And they are so darn useful! Most recently, we did a social story for pooping on the potty. Could not have been any easier! We had an INCIDENT with Miles and his Pull-ups and I decided I was done with him using Pull-ups for poop. Just plain old done. And we were really trying to help him be ready on his own, but…INCIDENT.
So we wrote a social story, printed it, read it to him, plopped his ducky seat on the toilet and he went to town.
I just wrote him a little social story to help him get ready for our big trip, and I can already see him using it to make sense of what will happen. He asks questions like, “Ninny will show me a calendar when I’ll see Mommy and Daddy again?” or “I’ll get to wear my fancy shoes while I’m on the trip, right?” I waited until this week to print out the little book for him because I wanted to pay attention to the questions he was asking and things that might give him anxiety: where will he sleep while he’s away? What animals will he encounter? Who specifically will he see and what blanket will he use at night?
Obviously he’s going to have moments on this trip where he cries or feels upset, but I’m sure this tool is helping him the best it can.
In a way, it seems so natural and makes so much sense to lay out expectations for children in this way. I was always sort of doing this sort of thing for Miles. I’d say at breakfast, “We’re going to the zoo today with Becky and her kids!” But I’m learning to follow his cues about how specific he needs me to be.
When something new happens at school, for example, we do a social story now and recite it to him. “Mommy will pick you up inside your classroom instead of outside,” or “today you will go to gym class, so you need to wear your sneakers. This is a rule in gym class.”
We find that when he has advanced preparation, when he knows what’s ahead, he has a much better day. Gee, I wonder where he inherited this need to control or understand or at least predict what’s coming? At any rate, I feel excited to have found a tool that seems to help him in this area.