How Does a Therapeutic Preschool Program Utilize Social Stories?

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other developmental delays often experience challenges with communication and social situations. As a result, situations that are easily navigated with ease by a typically developing child may be confusing, at best, for a child on the spectrum. In order to illustrate appropriate behavior and social norms in a concrete manner, teachers, therapists, and parents often use social stories with children with autism. Social stories may also be helpful tools in a therapeutic preschool program, where children are constantly interacting with other children.

What is a therapeutic preschool program?
The typical preschool program is usually structured for children who follow a typical development. Consequently, children with autism or other developmental delays may experience challenges with a typically structured program. In these instances, a therapeutic preschool program may be an excellent solution. These programs are designed to provide additional support for children who experience delays in communication, speech, feeding, motor skills, social skills, or other areas of development. A therapeutic preschool program will often provide a range of services, including ABA therapy, feeding therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.

What is a social story?
In a way, social stories act, as a “how-to” guide for children with autism. For example, a social story may illustrate how to take turns with a classmate during free play time at daycare or in a therapeutic preschool program. Social stories are excellent, because they can be customized to address the unique abilities and needs of every child. The social story will typically include an image to accompany text, in order to provide a concrete illustrate/visual support for the child. This visual support can help children to process the information.

How can a social story be used in a therapeutic preschool program?
If a child is experiencing difficulties with a specific skill in their therapeutic preschool program, their teacher or therapist might create a social story to help teach this skill to the child. This strategy can help the child to build positive behaviors and improve interactions with classmates. Social stories can be especially helpful for children with autism in a therapeutic preschool program who are struggling with tasks, such as understanding social cues or following instructions from teachers.

Do you believe your child could benefit from social stories or a therapeutic preschool program? Click the purple button below or call 773-620-7800 to contact CST Academy, Chicago’s top therapeutic preschool program for children ages two through five.