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Community Safety Social Stories

Instructor: Amanda Robb

Amanda holds a Masters in Science from Tufts Medical School in Cellular and Molecular Physiology. She has taught high school Biology and Physics for 8 years.

This lesson offers examples of social stories about different types of community safety for students with autism. It also includes pictures that can help illustrate key points.

Social Stories for Safety

Keeping students safe is our number one priority as teachers. This can be challenging when teaching students with autism, who sometimes exhibit unsafe behavior due to their disability. Although we can only monitor their behavior in school, it's important to teach them strategies to keep them safe in their community.

One way to do this is through social stories. A social story is a short, first person narrative written about a particular behavior a student needs to change. The story explains the situation, how the student may feel, how other people may feel and how the student should act.

Now, let's look at examples of social stories for different situations in the community, and different target behaviors.

Traffic Safety

When the bus drops me off, I have to walk to my house. Even though it's a short walk, it's important that I stay safe. Cars drive very fast on the street, and can hurt me if I get in their way. To be safe, I should look and listen when I get off the bus. If I hear or see cars, I should wait. I can only cross the street when there are no cars coming. I should try to cross in a crosswalk, where cars expect people to walk. This will help drivers see me.

Show students images of positive behavior for them to model
crossing the street

Sometimes I like to run when I get off the bus because I have a lot of energy. But, if I run into the street, a car could hit me and I could get hurt. I could also trip and fall if I run too fast. I should walk from the bus to my home and stay on the sidewalk. If I walk on the sidewalk, I will stay safe. Being safe makes me happy. My mom likes it when I come home safe. If my mom is happy, I am happy too.

Pedestrian Safety

When we walk outside, we share the sidewalk with other people. Sometimes I want to have the sidewalk all to myself because it is fun to run around. But, other people are trying to get places, too. It's important to share the sidewalk so everyone can get where they need to go.

If I run all over the sidewalk, I can bump into someone else. We both could fall and get hurt. I don't like being hurt. I should walk slowly on my side of the sidewalk and stick with my parent if they come with me. Also, if I run fast, I might trip on the sidewalk. I can fall and hurt myself. I don't like being hurt.

Clearly show students what the behavior you expect looks like
walking on sidewalk

Walking slowly, staying to one side and looking out for other people will keep me safe. I like being safe. Being safe makes me and my family happy.

Safety with Strangers

I like making new friends. Having friends feels good. But, some people shouldn't be my friend. If I don't know a person, I shouldn't talk to the person unless it is another student in school. Some adult strangers might want to hurt me. I don't like being hurt. I like being safe. Being safe makes me happy.

To be safe, I should not talk to strangers. If they try to talk to me, I should go get an adult I know right away. A parent or teacher can help me if a stranger tries to talk to me. If I get a parent or teacher to help me, I will be safe and then I will be happy. My teacher and parent will be happy, too.

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