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Dinner Time Social Stories

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

A good social story can make all the difference in a student's experience of a difficult situation. The social stories in this lesson are oriented toward helping children navigate dinner time.

Why Use Social Stories

If you are trying to help students who are on the autistic spectrum, have speech and language delays, or struggle with social cuing and physical or emotional regulation in stressful situations, consider using social stories. Social stories are scripts that can help students develop language and other strategies for dealing with scenarios that might trigger stress, such as dinner time behavior.

Story One: Dinner At Home

Almost every evening, my family and I sit down together for dinner. Each one of us sits in the same chair every night. We have forks and knives at our places, and we have glasses with milk in them. Each of us also has a napkin, and I know that when I sit down, I should put my napkin in my lap.

My dad is usually the one to serve the food. My dad loves to cook, and he tries to serve a different dish every night. He puts a serving of food on everyone's plate; I wait until everyone has been served before I start eating. If I don't like the way the food looks, I know that my job is to try at least two bites.

While our family is eating dinner, we talk about our day. I listen to my brother and my parents without interrupting. I never talk with food in my mouth or chew with my mouth open. If I need something, like salt or bread, I politely ask, 'Please pass the salt', instead of reaching across the table for it.

I always remember to say 'thank you' to my dad for cooking dinner. If I clean my plate and want more, I ask, 'Could I please have seconds?' If I've tried the food but still do not like it, I politely ask, 'Can I please make myself a sandwich?'

I stay at the table while everyone else finishes their meals. When everyone is done with dinner, I help clear the table and put the dishes in the dishwasher.

Story Two: Dinner Out

Sometimes, my family eats dinner somewhere else. We might go to dinner at a friend's house, or we might go to dinner at a restaurant. Going out to dinner is extra special and means being on my best behavior. Usually, I feel excited when we are going out to dinner; sometimes I feel a little bit nervous.

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