The holidays are a joyous time in which we come together to celebrate. However, this time of year can present challenges for those with disabilities and their families trying to navigate through the holidays. Family events, changes in schedule, over stimulation, and different foods can become overwhelming for those who may not do well with change. Luckily in the world of applied behavior analysis, we have a great tool that can be utilized for many different social situations.
Social Stories are a tool that is used to simplify descriptions of a concept, situation, or social skill that can be individualized for each person based on their needs. They are commonly used with those who have difficulties with social situations. When planning ahead for the holidays, using a social story can help prevent maladaptive behaviors that are caused when your family member is having difficulty interpreting events or social situations. They are designed to give information on what may happen and how to respond step by step. Social Stories are simple to make and are easy to implement. Other common examples of social story topics are:
-Self Regulating Emotions
-Asking for help
-Brushing your teeth
Once you have found or created a social story that would be helpful for the event or social situation, follow the below steps for implementation.
- Chose a time when your family member is calm.
- Find a quiet area, without distractions.
- Read the story together (stories can be repeated as often as needed).
- Discuss the social story after every read to allow for questions and clarity.
Link to a social story that can be used for Christmas: PowerPoint Presentation (positivelyautism.com)
Caldwell, N. (2006). Retrieved from Positively Autism: http://www.positivelyautism.com/downloads/ChristmasStory_Christmas.pdf
Gray, C. (n.d.). Retrieved from Carol Gray Social Stories: https://carolgraysocialstories.com/social-stories/