This book is a collection of 32 illustrated Social Stories that were written for my son and other children, which were all successful in diminishing anxiety and improving social understanding. The topics included are among the most frequently requested by professionals and parents.
Each Story has an introduction which gives an insight into the situation that each Story was written for and in particular shows how I gathered information before writing the Story to identify exactly what information the child was missing. Finding this missing social information is absolutely key to writing a successful Social Story.
This insight clearly demonstrates to parents and professionals how different and surprising the perspective of an autistic child can be from a neurotypical perspective. The need to research the child’s understanding before either picking a generic Story to fit, or crafting one from scratch, is apparent.
The book is unique in that it is able to demonstrate, with real life examples, how this fantastic strategy can be used throughout an individual’s life, each Story building on the last, continually developing concepts, eventually becoming a truly unique description of life delivered in a crafted and meaningful way for that individual.
The many and varied topics that Social Stories can address are also highlighted, from basic skills such as learning to listen, learning to wait patiently, learning how to share, and learning how to interrupt, to Stories addressing common fears such as bees and hand dryers as well as Stories for very specific and important information such as sharing the diagnosis with the child.
Parents spend a great deal of time listening to professionals discuss their child’s unusual or challenging responses in school, and frequently try to defend their child’s actions, sometimes with increasing frustration and even anger. Interactions where one party does not feel listened to or validated usually have an unhelpful outcome. To try and combat this as much as possible the L.A.S.T. Story has been included. The L.A.S.T. technique and the acronym was devised by Siobhan and introduced at Spectrum parent support group to help parents navigate their interactions with professionals safely and effectively. Of course professionals need to apply it too when speaking with parents. L.A.S.T. is short for ‘Listen, Acknowledge and Solve Together’. The technique is explored in the introduction to the Story.
There are often difficulties within a family when siblings feel that less attention, time and love is spent on them compared to their autistic brother or sister. For this reason the last Story in the book is a letter for them explaining that a mother’s love is equal and unchanging for all her children.
‘Successful Social Stories™for Young Children: Growing Up with Social Stories™, is the very first ‘life’ collection of Social Stories™, a demonstration of what love, words, and illustrations can do when systematically put to work on behalf of a child over time. It’s incredible and highly credible. I confidently leave you in the hands of a physician who became a mom of a boy with autism, and one of the most talented Social Story™ authors in the world.’
– Carol Gray, founder of Social Stories™ and author of The New Social Story™ Book: Revised and Expanded 15th Anniversary Edition
‘I am delighted with this book. I have a 9 year old son with Autism and found it both easy to read and packed with enlightening information. All the stories are relevant for my son and I really appreciated the chapters on sharing the diagnosis, talking with professionals (L.A.S.T) and sibling rivalry. I will be reading it again and again’
– Parent, Amazon customer
‘I found this book full of great ideas I could use to help my ASD son who dislikes changes in routine & who struggles to manage his anxiety. I found the stories easily adaptable to suit all ages, and it gave me some great ideas as starting points for my own stories.’
– Parent, Amazon customer
‘We find this book really useful and our son loves the stories that we have created from it. Very engaging and helpful in developing our child’s understanding of the world around him’
– Parent, Amazon customer
‘This book is an invaluable contribution to the body of published information and guidance on Carol Gray’s Social StoriesTM Siobhan shares her insightful thinking and information gathering which results in impeccable stories for her son Mark. Her stories and the strategies she uses to ensure true social understanding will be inspirational to all parents and professionals.’
– Eileen Arnold, former specialist speech and language therapist and co-author of Revealing the Hidden Social Code: Social StoriesTM for People with Autistic Spectrum Disorders
‘Life can be confusing and overwhelming for a child who has autism. Social StoriesTM provide information, reassurance and guidance not only for the child, but also for parents and teachers. The background to the creation of each Social Story explores a range of aspects of autism, and the rationale and rules for Social Stories. The subsequent text and delightful illustrations are both informative and effective. I am sure, also, that readers will quietly smile, and sometimes laugh, when they read these delightful Stories.’
– Tony Attwood PhD, clinical psychologist, Minds & Hearts Clinic, Australia, and author of The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome
‘Carol Gray’s Social Stories are known to virtually everyone associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders. In this new book, Siobhan Timmins, parent of a child with ASD who studied under Carol Gray, helps to further explain Gray’s Social Stories as a way of assisting children with ASD to control behaviors and function at a higher level. The book gives a clear, detailed, and thoughtful explanation of the central ideas behind Social Stories and demonstrates how to implement the strategies with wonderful examples and terrific pictures. Anyone interested in the ideas and strategies behind Social Stories will love this clear and in depth elaboration of the theories and practices and the delightful examples of how to implement them.’
– Gary B. Mesibov, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Emeritus Research Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
‘Towards the end of the book Siobhan includes a story for siblings. To parents she says: ‘We encourage our children to help and care for their sibling, but in doing so we may be positively reinforcing caring behaviour to the exclusion of normal childlike behaviour, without ever being aware that we are doing so.’ This culminates with a love story at the very end, a way of describing to each child the unconditional love they have from their parents. I defy you to read it without feeling tearful. It is beautiful. This book is sensitive, informative and extremely helpful for parents, carers and professionals alike.’
– Jude Ragan, OBE Autism Education Specialist, former head of Queensmill School