Social Stories on Unexpected Changes

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.

In this lesson we'll be learning how to use social stories to help students deal with unexpected changes. We'll talk about common unexpected changes that occur at school.

What Are Social Stories?

A social story is a short story that explains a situation a student is struggling with. It explains what the student's current behavior is, how it affects other people and how the student could improve during the situation next time. Social stories are personalized to your student's particular struggles and often include pictures that show the student how to model good behavior.

Unexpected changes can be unsettling for students, particularly for students with disabilities who rely heavily on routine. Today, we'll look at some examples of social stories that can help students with unexpected changes at school.

Schedule Change

I like being at school. At school, we get to learn and I get to see my friends. Most of the time, we do the same things at school everyday. We have our morning meeting and then learn our different subjects. I like it when I get to do the same thing each day. If things change suddenly, I get scared. I don't know what's going to happen next and it makes me really upset. I don't like being scared or upset.

But sometimes at school, there has to be changes to our schedule. It's okay that our schedule changes. It's normal to do different things sometimes. Usually our schedule changes for an important reason. Sometimes our schedule changes so we can have an assembly. Assemblies are for adults to give us important information.

Yesterday, we had to have an assembly. I didn't know we were having an assembly. I don't like my schedule changing. When my schedule changes, I feel scared. I don't like feeling scared.

When I feel scared, I sometimes lay on the floor and yell. I did that yesterday and I refused to go to the assembly. But, assemblies are important because our teachers need to tell us things. I need to hear what they have to say. I should go to the assembly so I know what my teachers are saying and learn new things. If I do that, I can feel good that I made the right choice. Doing what I'm supposed to in school feels good and I can be proud of myself.

Fire Alarm

There is a really loud noise in our school. It is called a fire alarm. A fire alarm tells us that there is a fire in the school. Fires are dangerous and can hurt us. If there is a fire, we have to leave the building right away. It's important that we all line up and leave together. That way, my teacher knows we are all safe. I like being safe. My teacher likes it too.

But, the fire alarm is very loud. When it goes off I get scared. Lights flash too, and I don't like that either. Other students are scared too. It can be scary to hear the fire alarm. Being scared is normal. But, when the fire alarm goes off, it's really important we stay together to be safe.

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