There aren’t many times in life when you get a dress rehearsal, especially for families of children with special needs. For children with Autism, in particular, practice and preparation for novel situations (places, people, environments, schedule changes) is a necessary part of life. Both in and outside of speech therapy, children with Autism regularly struggle with transitions, change in routine or surprising events; without proper preparation these children often have behavioral and communication breakdowns resulting in challenges for the whole family. Recognizing the specific difficulty of flying, Boston’s Logan Airport in collaboration with the Charles River Center and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have taken a huge step towards helping children with Autism conquer the airport through their program, Wings for Autism.
What Is It?
A social story is exactly what it sounds like: a brief, simple story designed to teach children about social situations and appropriate responses. Social stories were originally developed in 1991 by Carol Gray of The Gray Center. Gray had been a consultant to students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Social stories were originally intended solely for use by those with ASD; however, they can also be helpful for improving communication in non-autistic children.