I had heard about the fact that kids with Fragile X Syndrome need 3 things: They want to know WHAT they are doing? How long will it last? And what is next? Subsequently, I also learned that they want to know WHEN they are finished. How could I incorporate this methodology into their everyday lives? I had also heard about Social Stories from our therapists (experts in the field of Fragile X). Social stories tell the viewer in pictures what's going to happen, what they'll be doing or where they will be, and what's next.
My boys were already familiar with a few pictures from a software program called Boardmaker, so I would use that to create it. I decided to start the first social story with something that did not require any demands on the boys' part. A trip to the grocery store would be perfect. I would begin by showing a picture of home (something safe), then move to the picture of the car (they liked riding in the car so this was not threatening), then show a live picture of the grocery store (obtained from the internet). I would then use a picture of a grocery cart, then food, then pay, then finish with a picture of home. I realized that doing this first one was also an exercise in building trust. I wanted the boys to trust this scenario to be "true" and be accurate. I also wanted the whole experience to be semi-quick and successful. This left open the door for future visits to grow and be possible. Here is a picture of what that social story might look like.
I now have hundreds of social stories. My boys are now 20 and 22, and are very used to this method of communication between me, my husband and them. Later on in their lives, I realized the power of this kind of method and I developed another method. This one is call "All Done", and it is specifically used when there is involvement from them necessary. I've used that one to teach them everything from how to unload the dishwasher to how to work at their jobs. I plan to update this blog to explain that method in the near future, so keep watch!!!
Take a chance and start your own social story regime. Let me know how it goes for you!