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What's the difference between a social story without pictures, and just telling someone what will happen?

(17 Posts)
StarChartEsq Tue 21-Jun-11 10:17:26

Because I just don't geddit.

Apparently ds is to have non-visual social stories to help his transition into school.

This is because I told them that even I can't make head nor tail of their scrawlings and expecting ds to is just layering up what he needs to process, when he'll do fine with just the words.

So this is what they have come up with. And I can't do it (I told them to leave it to me), as it requires an autism specialist to do it.

Do I live near a leaking nuclear power station?

chuckeyegg Tue 21-Jun-11 10:23:27

My DS had a book with photos that we looked at all summer to help him with transition into school. Photos of his teachers the room playground everything. Would that be better? The school made it for him.


StarChartEsq Tue 21-Jun-11 10:30:39

Oh I don't know really. DS is quite alright at tranisitions. I would like him to have met his TA a few times in advance but appart from that I don't think he needs much else.

zzzzz Tue 21-Jun-11 11:22:50

Star if he is really fine with transitions on the whole, just let it flow on by. If it helps there is a book [can't believe I am recommending this because I have to read the bloody thing every day!] one of the Topsy and Tim ones called starting school, which is boring but factual.
I feel kind of the same about visual timetables as my ds get very bored of them, but I do think they probably will help him understand time [ie past present], I am trying a diary at the moment though honestly hasn't gone down brilliantly.

amberlight Tue 21-Jun-11 13:14:03

I've not a clue. I reckon your near-a-leaking-nuclear-plant theory is as good as any confused. Like heck does it need an 'autism specialist'. In my experience, 9 out of 10 specialists haven't a clue what we actually need from the stories. Parents, on the other hand, often do.

StarChartEsq Tue 21-Jun-11 15:20:06

Thanks zzzzz and amber.

bullet234 Tue 21-Jun-11 19:58:19

Well I have never had a social story for myself, but I manage to understand things a lot better if they are written down, even if the length and wording are exactly the same as if they had been spoken. So maybe that has summat to do with it.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Tue 21-Jun-11 20:06:17

Perhaps it's a processing time thing? DS is better if it's written down. It's more concrete than spoken words so harder to ignore and can be referred to again. He remembers things much better if he sees them written down. We stopped using any social stories when he was about 7, cos they do continue to develop, don't they? smile He's now fine with a few repeated verbal reminders. But he still needs them repeated more than 2 or 3 times.

StarChartEsq Wed 22-Jun-11 00:11:50

I think once ds can read, the written word would be helpful, like lists are for most of us.

But the problem with visuals is that he has to have shared communication and understanding. The picture has to mean to him, what it means to me, and teaching that is much more complicated than just telling him straight.

On top of that, I can rarely find a picture which conveys exactly what he needs to know, and my drawings are terrible, even an NT person would not understand them.

Lougle Wed 22-Jun-11 00:12:53 experience of a social story is that it uses repitition to build a picture for the child.

So for DD1, who is hitting, pinching, etc.(only at home), the school did a social story for her, called 'Kind Hands'.

Now, Kind Hands does have pictures. They are pictures of her using her hands.

So, it starts with 'DD1 uses her hands for x, y, z...look at DD1 using her hands for eating....DD1 has kind hands, look she is helping 'tom' up....DD1 is using her kind hands to clear away...I wonder what DD1 is using her hands for here?...etc.

Then, the very last page has a paragraph which says 'we must only use our hands to be kind. We mustn't use them to hit or pinch, because it isn't kind, and hurts. DD1 will try to always use kind hands.

It is a bit more eloquent than that..but you get the gist.

So rather than telling her 'if you hit it will hurt x, and I will tell you off', the idea is that she builds a picture in her head of what hands are for, and reduces as a consequence, her negative behaviours.

StarChartEsq Wed 22-Jun-11 00:24:54

Oh. Clearly I have never experienced a good social story or a good rationale for one then.

The kind hands thing seems pretty sensible. The sports day one that we have is crazy to say the least, with lots of squares with hand drawn stick men in them. Important tool to get the ADULTS to break down the explanation into bite size chunks of information perhaps, but perhaps they should just keep the visuals to themselves and just repeat the explanation.

But I do see the point of the kind hands one, and might adapt it for a couple of behavioural problems we have. thanks

I'm guessing perhaps? that what we get is a watered down mainstream, chinese whispers, half-baked training version of these things which is why I get so frustrated. Perhaps special schools are much better at them.

lisad123 Wed 22-Jun-11 00:38:05

I have just finished a Social stories workshop and there are clear guidelines of what should and shouldnt be in a social story.
DD1 has them for transitions and hers have photos, especially of new places and people.
The idea of a social story is to explain to the child, where they are going and what behaviours are acceptable in that place. We were talking and there are so many rules, even to boys learning where to stand at urinals in publics loos!!
We find them really helpful, my eldest has auditrody (sp?) processing issues, so while I can tell her 1000 x, she still wont get it, so having to written down really helps.

streakybacon Wed 22-Jun-11 07:55:38

Star, I've pmd you.

working9while5 Wed 22-Jun-11 12:24:02

One of my students who is 12 and has ASD and Auditory Processing Disorder tells me that he prefers things written down as he finds it easier to work out where "the words begin and end". He says it's harder for him to follow speech alone because sometimes it gets jumbled together but if he can hear and see the words at the same time the gaps between words help him work out what's being said. That particular student also indicates he doesn't find images helpful, he prefers words.

It goes without saying this won't be true for everyone of course but is another example of how text can be helpful for some, I suppose?

I don't think an autism specialist has to write a social story - can't anyone do it? You can get the resources very easily.

working9while5 Wed 22-Jun-11 12:36:05

Oh yeah and in terms of the rationale it is about providing a "schema" or basically a learned idea of what happens in a given situation. We all have "schema"'s (schemae??! confused) about social situations aka expectations built on our experiences of being in that situation e.g. you know that you need to queue in a bank and at the end a number will flash up and you will go to the teller and explain what your business is etc etc.

The idea behind the language used is that it is precise and unambiguous and describes a situation with the "shoulds" and "coulds" highly controlled to avoid it becoming what the adult wants to teach rather than what the child or young person needs, as an absolute minimum, to know about the subject. The key is to describe the situation with only limited information that is subjective.

It assumes that the person needing the story is an intelligent individual who may not have worked out the unwritten rules of a particular situation or the process that they are going through/that lies ahead but will benefit from having these made explicit e.g. it may reduce feelings of anxiety where a situation is fast moving and more difficult to process in real-time.

We all like to know what's what, I guess. I am in the middle of a battle at work about something that involves lots of emails bouncing about the Trust and I feel incredible anxiety that I don't know what's happening or what will happen next or what the "process" is. I would love someone to send me a nice little flowchart of how the matter will be dealt with a time frame as I would know what's what. Think of other situations like project management, having a new build done etc.. having expectations clarified is not something that only people on the autism spectrum need. All a social story does, really, is set out guidelines for how to give just enough information in literal language to be helpful. It's controlling some of the additional variables that a new situation may present a person with autism e.g. having something explained a different way each time, not having time to think through a new situation that is too fast moving etc. It's trying to limit those additional things can add to the anxiety that we all experience if we don't know what's happening in our lives at important points.

working9while5 Wed 22-Jun-11 12:36:41

Sorry that is objective not subjective!

blueShark Wed 22-Jun-11 12:47:10

DS didnt have a book and considering he met the teacher and the TAs and few of his classmates twice before the school year had finished we didnt have any issues with transitions and his language and understanding wasnt as good back then.

So I would concentrate on arranging some time to meet the teacher, spend 30 mins or anything he is comfortable with to spend in the classroom and knowing you Star from your posts you will do a great explanation of what is about to happen without the social stories and visuals.

Good luck and hope your DS likes the new environment.

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