Have your kids started back to school yet? We are on summer break for 2 more weeks in my county.... but time sure is flying!! Two years ago I wrote a blog post about making a presentation all about you to show to your students during the first week of school. Incase you missed it, you can check it out here! In addition to calming some first day jitters with a new teacher, the presentation opens up the lines of communication for the kids to ask you questions and for you to get to know them, too. But for some kids, the anxiety of the first day of school is overwhelming. Even though here we still have two weeks before school starts, it's a good idea to start talking to your kids about starting school now. For students with special needs, such as Autism, they need a lot of notice about big changes in their life, such as starting school. Something that might help them, is creating a social story all about their school!
A social story is a short story all about a student that helps explain expectations to them. Social stories are used for a number of reasons, but the important thing is that the story is solely about the student. I have experienced positive outcomes with these because the children find pride and ownership in a story about them. Things are also explained with visuals so it's easy for them to understand.
I created this particular social story using PowerPoint (I personally am a huge fan of PowerPoint) but you can make a social story out of a notebook, a photo album, blank paper, anything really! One of the most important parts of a social story is the visuals. For older kids you could use cartoon images or even let them draw their own, but for many kids, especially the younger ones- photographs work best. Teachers report back to work at least a week before the kids come to school for their first day. Go take a visit to the school and bring your camera. I can almost guarantee you that the principal and/or staff would be more than happy to let you take photos of the school to help your child better adjust.
The photos and slides I showed in this post are just a few examples. You may also want to take photos of the library, music & art room, cafeteria (maybe even do some modeling with a lunch tray!), the playground, where he/she will be picked up in the afternoon.... anything that pertains to your child. After you have made your social story, read it to you child every day, multiple times a day. Eventually they will be able to tell the story to you- even if the cannot read yet.
Giving them an early sneak peek into their life at school with help calm anxiety and first day jitters!
Thank you to my good friend, Kandace Friend and handsome hubby, Kevin Cummings for being my teacher/principal models! Also thank you to Kaitlin Sedwick and Jenna Belote for sharing your adorable classroom photos!