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Using Social Stories to Support Children with Transitions


Guest Blog by Cindy Cole, Director of Psychological Services for the Champlain Valley School District and guest on the May 27th BBF Early Childhood Forum on Mental Health. The picture below is of Cindy as seen through the eyes of a student.

Social stories can be a really effective way to help children understand changes around them. In preparing for the Building Bright Futures Forum on Mental Health [view the recording here], I shared a social story to help children in my school district as we are coming to the end of this unusual school year due to COVID-19 and want to support students understand and ease anxiety about what might happen in the future.

The use of Social Stories was developed by Carol Gray. They are stories that preview a social situation with some teaching to help the reader to navigate a social situation.  The tone is positive and includes visuals that can help the reader understand what to expect, what kinds of challenges to expect, some ideas for how to manage the experience and information about what some of the social rules might be.  

A social story is a visual and verbal aid that can help the reader feel prepared for a social expectation. Here are other ways you can use social stories: 

  • Learning new routines
  • Going to a new place
  • Returning to school
  • How to say you are sorry
  • What to do if someone is not social distancing

The possibilities are endless and I hope this can be a tool to support you and your children through the COVID-19 crisis.

Social Story Resources for Children

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