Social Stories

Have you ever heard of 'social stories'?

I had never heard of these until a recent visit we had with a behavioral specialist - discussing Devika's challenging behaviors.  One of the worst problems that I currently have with Devi is her ability to calm down when I put her to bed - nap and bedtime.  She is having horrible separation anxiety with me.  {And actually, this behavior is the same that she exhibits when left with a sitter or had been when she was dropped at preschool.  The weighted blanket worked for awhile with this, but hasn't been working lately.}

Every time that I put her to bed, we follow the same exact routine.  Unfortunately, it does not seem to matter to her.  When I am getting ready to lay her down, she starts repeating 'mommy? mommy? mommy?...I wake up? I wake up? I wake up?..' over and over.  When I begin moving away from her crib, she FREAKS out immediately.  Screams like she is being tortured and jumps up and down.  This only lasts for maybe 5 minutes (and if she is very tired, it lasts maybe 2-3 minutes).. but it is horrible!!  I know it is short-lived, but the girl acts completely terrorized.  This is not the normal 'don't leave me' cry.. we've seen that with both girls.  This is an all-out freakout.  If she isn't tired, this can last for ~10-15 minutes.
I'm mostly afraid that Devi will hurt herself with these fits.  Afraid she will bang her head or go flying out of the crib.  She jumps sooo high.  Poor thing.. I just can't find anything that will help her remain calm.  The only thing that helps is if Aj is home.  If he is here, he can put her down and she will not freak out like this.

So - the behavior analyst told us to try creating a 'social story' book and read it to her every night.  I was told to write out Devi's bedtime routine like a story with pictures of her in it (she is very visual), and add it to her nightly routine.  Or let her read it at other times also.  
I have put one together and am having it printed through (luv them btw).  I so hope this helps.  :(  We've been dealing with these anxiety issues for a couple of months now and it is just painful.  It also upsets Maya quite a bit and then I have to help calm HER down.

Once I began working on the book, I googled 'social stories' and found a ton of information.  These stories are an important tool in helping autistic children (well, not just children I guess, but any person having an autism spectrum disorder) interpret certain types of situations (social situations, etc).  
There are actually specifically designed styles and formats that should be used when creating one of these stories, though I did not actually follow the model very closely.  If I find the need to create others in the future, I will probably do so. 

You can check out my book through the following widget/link. 

*If you are interested in further info, you might want to check out this site (Carol Gray created the concept): .

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