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Social Stories for Clean Hands

Instructor: Abigail Cook
Do you have students who need extra instruction or practice to keep their hands clean? This lesson will give you a couple different examples of social stories to help teach the steps of this skill and why it's important.

Social Stories

Social stories can be a powerful way to explain why something is important, teach a new skill, or show someone how they should behave in a particular situation. Social stories are usually written for a specific student, with a specific purpose in mind. Many students, with and without disabilities, may need extra practice or motivation to learn why something is important and how it is done.

This lesson provides examples of social stories about having clean hands. Stories are typically written differently for a young child than they are for a teenager, so this lesson will provide an example for two different age groups.

Elementary School Student

The first example is written for an elementary school student, who needs help thinking through the steps of washing his hands. Because Joseph is young, he will be more engaged in the story and motivated if it includes pictures. Each of the lines in the story would be written on a separate page with a picture to help Joseph visualize what he needs to do.

Joseph is a third grader at Old Mill Elementary School.

He is a smart boy who enjoys science.

One thing Joseph has been learning about is how to keep his body healthy.

Joseph understands that in order to stay healthy he needs to eat lots of vegetables, exercise every day, and wash his hands.

Washing our hands is important because it gets rid of germs that might make us sick.

When Joseph washes his hands, he uses the bathroom sink.

He turns on the water and gets his hands wet.

Then he squirts soap on his hands.

He rubs his hands together while singing 'Happy Birthday' in his head. This helps him know that he has washed his hands long enough.

Then he puts his hands under the water and rinses off all of the bubbles.

Joseph uses a paper towel to dry his hands.

When Joseph follows these steps to wash his hands, he knows he is getting clean.

Having clean hands helps fight off germs that might make him sick.

When Joseph washes his hands and stays healthy, it makes his teacher happy.

It also makes Joseph happy!

High School Student

This example would be written in paragraph form on a single page, and is more appropriate for an older student. A typical high school student might not need a social story in order to understand the importance of having clean hands. However, this example is written for Hannah, a sixteen year old girl with Down syndrome.

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