How A Social Story Can Improve Your Child's Behaviors

Kids Health The Newsletter About Taking Care Of The Ones That Matter Most

“My ChildWas Having Troubles Learning To Use The Bathroom, So I Decided ToDo Something. ” HowA Social Story Can Improve Your Child’s Behaviors

Key Criteria of a Social Story™ Social stories are written for a variety of reasons. Some of these include teaching a new skill (e.g. how to use the bathroom), how to respond to something in the environment (e.g. what to do when a fire truck goes by), preparing for an upcoming situation or event (e.g. going to the doctor), communicating rules or expectations (e.g. how to behave in church), how to get along with others (e.g. sharing toys), or describing another’s point of view on a subject (e.g. some people don’t like dogs). Regardless of the reason for the story, included below are some key criteria that should be a part of each one: 1. Clear title and topic – Every Social Story™ should have a title and introduction that clearly identifies the topic, detail in the body of the story, and a conclusion that reinforces and summarizes all the information presented. 2. Safe and literal language – The story should be physically, socially and emotionally safe for the person it’s intended for. It should be literally accurate for the situation so that nothing in the story miscommunicates anything unsafe, disrespectful or threatening to self-esteem in any way. 3. Acknowledgment – At least 50% of the social story should applaud achievements. 4. Individualization – The Social Story™ should be individualized to the person it’s intended for so it is tailored to their learning abilities, physical abilities, talents, attention span and interests. 5. Positive tone – Social Stories™ should be written in first or third person and have a positive, supportive tone. 6. Clear content – Social Stories™ should always answer where, when, who, what, how and why regarding the topic using reassuring language. 7. Simple structure – Sentence structure is critical to a well-written Social Story™ and there are several recommended types: • Descriptive – This is the only required sentence type with all others being optional. Descriptive sentences are statements which are objective, factual and not open to debate. (e.g. Bedtime at my house is at 8:00 p.m.) • Perspective – These sentences refer to the child’s or someone else’s thoughts, feelings, beliefs or motivations. One needs to be careful about assuming the internal motivations of the child when using this type of sentence, however. (e.g. Mom will be happy when I pick up my toys.) • Sentences that coach – These sentences gently guide behavior by suggesting a response or choice of responses. (e.g. I can take a break when things get too loud.) •Affirmative–Thesesentencesemphasizean importantdetailor reassure.

They often follow descriptive sentences. (e.g. It’s important to take turns so everyone stays safe.) • Partial – These encourage the child to retrieve important concepts in an effort to promote application of that concept by filling in the blank. (e.g. I can take a break when _____________.) 8. Be descriptive – Social Stories™ should be more descriptive than directive. 9. Add pictures – Pictures can aid in enhancing the child’s understanding of the content, particularly if the child is young. 10. Repetition – Read the story with the child frequently for increased certainty on what is possible and/or expected, particularly before a challenging situation where the non-optimal behavior is likely to occur. Social Stories™ are a valuable teaching tool for many types of social and daily living situations. When written for the interest of the child intended for, they are engaging, offer predictability and can reduce anxiety and uncertainty in confusing or frustrating times. As the child uses the Social Story™ and the targeted behavior improves, you may find less of a need for it. You may also find that a few tweaks or changes can make it even better. Don’t be afraid to edit it. Above all, make your Social Story™ affirming, fun and inspirational. Your efforts as an author will go a long way towards supporting your child’s social and behavioral success!

Strategies For Helping Children Get Organized

As adults, we use strategies to organize our lives. We put papers in color- coded folders, use shoe racks, and schedule appointments with PDA’s, calendars, and lists to organize our environments. Providing children with similar strategies helps them organize their environments and promotes independence. Although we try and help kids organize by reminding them to put their things away, many children often need examples and support to succeed at organizing their lives. Below are a few tips for helping kids take their organization to the next level. 1. Toys – Use pictures or drawings of items to remind children where things belong. Cut pictures from the newspaper or use a picture from the toy’s box. Tape images on shelves and in toy boxes so children clearly know where toys belong. Pictures and labels also can be used outside totes and bins to indicate where animals, art supplies, or other small toys belong. 2. Shoes – Provide a mat, box, or shelf for shoes. If kids remove their shoes in the entranceway, be sure to place the box or mat immediately inside or outside the door. If people wear shoes in the home, be sure to have the box, shelf, or mat located in the child’s room in an easy to access location. 3. Bathroom – Use toothbrush, soap, cup, and toothpaste holders to provide a natural reminder where things belong. Towels should be housed on a towel rod or ring so children know where to return them when they finish drying their hands and face. All areas should be accessible when the child is standing on the floor or on a step stool so they can be responsible for putting their own items away. 4. Desk – Create a jig or outline of the location where each object belongs. Place outlines on the top of the desk and in the desk drawers to let

children know where to find and return their notebooks, pencils, crayons, and other school materials. Clearly defining areas is important for kids to independently locate and return writing and working materials. 5. Book Bag – Give children the resources they need to organize their papers, pencils, and other school supplies. Folders are a way

to keep papers sorted by subject. Be sure to use folders with pockets that are secure and provide enough space for necessary pages. Label notebooks andusedifferentcolorbooks fordifferentsubjects. Forpencils, erasers, and pens select a bag with pockets for these items or purchase a pencil holder. Make a weekly routine of removing any unnecessary papers and materials from the book bag so children can stay organized and find their important materials. 6. Clothes –Drawers should be easy to open and closets should have hangers and shelving children can reach easily. As with toys, children can benefit from a picture, drawing, or words indicating where clothes belong. Provide enough hangers and shelving so clothes fit neatly in the closet or drawers. Dirty clothing should be put in a convenient place. Be sure hampers are near areas where the children remove their clothes. If children change in the bedroom and in the bathroom, place hampers in both locations.

Staff Spotlight

Danielle Peppler, PT, DPT, is a Physical Therapist at the Center for Pediatric Therapies.Sheprovidesphysical therapy services to children in their homes and schools and at our outpatient clinics in Danville and Martinsville. Danielle earned a Bachelor of Biology and Bachelor of Health Sciences from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Danielle Peppler PT, DPT

Pennsylvania. She also holds a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) from Duquesne University. While studying at Duquesne, Danielle ran Division I Cross Country & Track. She also served as president of her physical therapyclassandofDuquesne’sPhysicalTherapyAssociation. Danielle has experience working in pediatric acute care, inpatient rehabilitation, and outpatient settings seeing children of all ages. She has a special interest in aquatic therapy. She especially enjoys workingwithchildren tosee the incrediblestrength,courage,anddesire they show to do their absolute best. She strives to help children and their families meet all of their physical therapy goals by promoting independence and long term improved functioning in a fun and playful environment. When she is not working at CPT, Danielle enjoys running, cooking, and spending time with her husband, daughter, and Siberian Huskies.

The 6th Annual Dan River Autism Awareness 5K run/walk is Saturday, April 29, 2017 at Anglers Park in Danville, VA. The Center for Pediatric Therapies proudly hosts this event. To register, go to www. and click register. Use code cptnews for $5 off your registration fee (code expires 3/31/17). Autism Awareness 5K SAVE THE DATE: 4.29.17


Center for Pediatric Therapies values each of our patients and believes that every child is truly special. We invite you to share your child’s experience with CPT by leaving us a review on Facebook. Simply log onto Facebook, visit our page @centerforpediatrictherapies then click Reviews to tell people what you think. We’d love to hear how physical, occupational, and speech therapy have impacted your child’s life.

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SavetheDate:4.29.17atAnglersPark in Danville, VA. Find a registration coupon code inside!

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