Thinking of making a COVID-19 social story? Here are some points to consider
Social stories – short, engaging descriptions of real life situations, events or processes – are familiar to many early childhood education and care (ECEC) and disability professionals. They allow the reader to “walk through” a new situation or event, guided by strong visuals, information, and an idea of what appropriate responses might be.
These stories are often customised to the individual and their needs, and can be powerful ways to support children to understand things like separating from family, navigating exiting and entering play and managing daily tasks and routines in an education and care setting.
Social stories can also be used for “out of the ordinary” events, such as the recent summer of fires, attending a wedding, or understanding more about what a pandemic is, and why life has to change, for now.
By using pictures, photos and terms which are specific to the person who is reading the story, educators and other support professionals can ensure the story is comforting and familiar. The aim is for the story to be made in such a way that it can be used by parents, other professionals and educators.
When making a social story, it’s a good idea to ensure that the format it is made in is robust – often these stories become a well read, and well loved, part of a child’s day. As such, they need to be strong. Laminating the story is often a good way to ensure it stays safe.
For a more sustainable option, there are many online platforms which will support the creation of social stories. Some of these platforms include wording and boxes, so all that needs to be done is to add individual photos.
The most important thing to remember about social stories is to keep them positive, and focused on the type of behaviour and action that is desirable, rather than highlighting what isn’t.