Social Stories About Getting Lost

Instructor: Clio Stearns

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

Getting lost is one of the scariest things that can happen to children, and some children will experience it especially fearfully. The social stories in this lesson will help teach students what to do if they ever get lost.

Social Stories as Preparation

One of the reasons to use social stories with students is that these scripted anecdotes offer students vocabulary, strategies, and ideas for dealing with stressful social situations. These stories can be particularly helpful for students with autism spectrum disorders or speech and language struggles, since they benefit from specific guidance in terms of dealing with life's challenges. This lesson offers social stories oriented toward helping students when they get lost or feel worried about getting lost.

Handling Worries About Getting Lost

Sometimes, I go to places with my family. We go to parks, stores, and restaurants together. It is fun to go to different places with my family, but these places are sometimes really crowded. Crowded means there are lots of other people there, and sometimes it is loud and confusing.

When I am in crowded places with my family, I worry about getting lost. This means that I get scared I will not be able to find the other people in my family, or I get scared that I will not be able to find where I need to go in order to stay safe and do what I am supposed to do. When I feel scared and worried about getting lost, I feel like crying. Sometimes I get very sweaty and breathe really fast. Being worried makes it hard to focus on what I am supposed to do.

When I feel worried about getting lost somewhere, I focus on ways to learn my way around. I notice all of the doors and signs. I look for helpful people like police officers, friendly and familiar adults, or security guards. I notice landmarks I can remember.

When I feel worried about getting lost, I also make a plan with my parents in advance. We talk about what we will do to keep track of each other, like holding hands, wearing brightly colored shirts or hats, or making eye contact frequently. Sometimes, I have a bracelet that has my mom's phone number on it. Knowing that I can call her from a helpful grown-up's cell phone helps me calm down my worries about getting lost.

What to Do if You Get Lost

I know that sometimes even kids who are very careful can get lost. Getting lost can mean not being able to find your grownups in a particular place. Getting lost can also mean not being able to find what you are looking for or find your way home from somewhere different.

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