Social Stories on Getting Attention Appropriately

Instructor: Clio Stearns

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

Teaching students to get attention appropriately is an important part of teaching them to take care of themselves. This lesson offers social stories that focus on good ways to get someone else's attention.

Social Stories and Seeking Attention

Learning to get attention appropriately can be a struggle for students on the autism spectrum, as well as others who struggle with social cues, physical and emotional regulation, and speech and language development. Social stories, or brief scripted language to help students learn to speak and behave in stressful situations, are tools you can use to help these students learn how to get attention appropriately. This lesson provides sample social stories for getting attention from peers and adults.

Getting Attention From Peers

I have a lot of friends in my class at school. I also have friends in my neighborhood. I like to play with my friends, and it makes me happy when they listen to me, look at me and play with me. It is hard when I feel like my friends or other kids in my class are not paying attention to me. It makes me feel sad and very small.

I know that sometimes I have to remember that it is not a good time to get attention. If my teacher is teaching, or if a kid is busy doing something else, I remind myself, ''This is not a good time. I need to leave that kid alone right now. '' I try to focus on what I am supposed to be doing.

I know that there are other times when it is okay to try to get a kid's attention. There are some really good ways to get attention. One thing I can do is look at the kid in the eye and say, ''Hi! Can I talk to you?'' If the kid is playing, I can also say, ''Can I join in your game?''

Sometimes, it is also okay to tap another kid gently on the arm. I need to be extra careful to be gentle, and if they still do not turn to me, I might have to give up.

It is also okay to write notes or draw pictures for other kids. I can do this at home and deliver them the next day at school. This lets other kids know I am thinking about them, and that will help them remember to pay attention to me.

Sometimes, I feel tempted to yell at kids or hit them when I want their attention. I also can feel tempted to act very silly just to get them to look at me and laugh. When I feel tempted to do these things, I say to myself, ''What would be a better way?'' I remember the good ways I know to get attention, and I try one of those. I feel proud of myself for behaving so maturely!

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