Social Stories and When They Go Wrong

For his 13th birthday, Logan finally received his own personal cell phone.  We really had to talk up how awesome this was as he was oblivious to why he would want one.  It helped that his little sister thought this was the coolest gift on the face of the planet. 

It would have been a perfect gift for Madison to tell the truth. Unfortunately for her, Logan was the one who needed it.  He was going off more on his own with our church youth group.  It made me feel better that if he needed me, he could call on his own. While it was not his favorite gift, we managed to make it cool thanks to help from several youth at church giving him his number.

It became apparent really fast that we had a problem though.  A serious problem that needed a plan of action asap.    When Logan used his phone, he used the scenario that he had learned in social skills group years ago.  He went through the steps like clockwork. The problem came when someone deviated from the scenario.  Logan looked like a deer caught in the headlights. He simply didn’t know what to do with himself.  Since he didn’t know what to do, he shut down. As in , said nothing.  Not a word.  He waited for the person to answer how he was taught in the social story.  It was horrid.

I should have seen this coming.  We had  encountered this before with introductions.  We practiced how to introduce yourself and what not.  This was all well and good until the other person decided to answer differently .  Logan was much younger then so he would have a meltdown because he didn’t know what else to do.  I remember working on that for what seemed like forever.  Finally, after practicing it for what seemed like years with many silly answers, he became comfortable

This is one of those times when I say thank God for grandparents.  I enlisted both sets of grandparents to call or be called by Logan.  This worked well for us since they didn’t know the social story.  Since they didn’t know how Logan was expecting them to answer, they always answered differently. I must admit that I didn’t tell them why at first other than Logan needed the practice.  They heard a lot of me in the background telling him how to answer.   Micheal and I randomly called him for no reason and with no purpose.  Eventually, he got better at it and was able to function relatively properly on the phone. A year later, he is a walking, talking, texting machine.  He has the phone down pat now. 

I wouldn’t do social stories again for Logan.  Maybe to  introduce a new situation but definitely not in a rigid format as in I say this then you say that.  It’s not worth in in my opinion.  We are teaching them to function in a fluid typical environment.  We are setting them up for failure when the response in not what they practiced.  Keep that in mind before you submit you and your child to that.  Believe me.  The end result is not pretty.

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Penny Rogers
Just a Florida homeschooling mom attempting to navigate autismland with my teenage son with autism and the rest of my goofy family. We love Jesus and live gluten free . One kid with celiac and one gluten free for his autism. We utilize the Charlotte Mason approach mixed with lots of field trips as well as jaunts to Walt Disney World. Just sharing my adventures to make you feel better about your family and maybe learn a thing or two that helps !
Penny Rogers

Penny Rogers

Just a Florida homeschooling mom attempting to navigate autismland with my teenage son with autism and the rest of my goofy family. We love Jesus and live gluten free . One kid with celiac and one gluten free for his autism. We utilize the Charlotte Mason approach mixed with lots of field trips as well as jaunts to Walt Disney World. Just sharing my adventures to make you feel better about your family and maybe learn a thing or two that helps !

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