This is a social narrative I wrote and illustrated to teach learners about public places and private places and the behaviours that are acceptable in those respective places. The narrative was originally created when I was working in Toronto as a Transition Support Worker, assisting children with Autism Spectrum Disorder transition into school environments from the Intensive Behavioural Intervention program.
In this zip file, you will find the PDF of the story as well as a word file that can be edited to suit your learner's needs. At the end of the narrative, two printable signs may be used as visuals to teach the learner what locations are considered PUBLIC places or PRIVATE places.
Notes: How to use this social story
There are a number of things to keep in mind when using this story to explain the concept of what is public and what is private to a child. The point of the story is to allow the individual to explore their body in a safe manner by teaching the learner what is private place vs a public place.
It is very important to approach this topic in the light that it is natural, normal and healthy to explore one’s body. There is nothing wrong with touching and exploring as long as it is done in the safety of one’s privacy. One of the tricky things about labeling places private is that some places that are used privately are actually public places such as the washroom. Now the public washroom is very simply always taught as a public place. But what about the child’s home washroom. Due to the fact that other family members will also use the bathroom, to avoid confusion, home bathrooms are also referred to as public places. Thus, the safest place for a young person to explore their body is to designate their own room to be their private place.
Included in this package, you will find printable signage that may be used as visual reminders of what is a public place and private place. The visuals will be tools that you use to reminder the learner what behaviours are appropriate at that location.
When to use this story
It is always a good policy to use such a story to prime a learner about how they may start to feel about their body at around the age of puberty. Learners will start to become curious about the changes that are happening and they may also start to have different sensations that they may never have felt before. This narrative may be used to give the learner an idea of what are acceptable behaviours before they engage in inappropriate behaviour such as self-touch in public places such as the classroom or in a shopping mall.
This story is called a social narrative and not a social story because the name social story has been trademarked by Carol Gray to protect the integrity of what she has developed. I have tried to instill some of her values in this story.
If you are interested in writing your own social narrative, I would strongly suggest you research and read up on the work of Carol Gray. Here are a few points she have written about social stories:
Write a Social Story™
A Social Story™/Social Article describes a situation, skill, or concept according to 10 defining criteria. These criteria guide Story/Article development to ensure an overall patient and supportive quality, and a format, “voice”, and relevant content that is descriptive, meaningful, and physically, socially, and emotionally safe for the Audience.
As you write your Story, maintain a patient and supportive “voice” and vocabulary according to these five factors (Criteria 5)-
1. Exclusive use of the first and/or third person perspective
2. Positive and patient tone
3. Past, present, or future tense, including use of the Positive Past Tense if applicable
4. Literal accuracy: Every word or phrase can be interpreted literally without changing the intended meaning of the Author.
Accurate meaning: The most representative and effective words are used, with special care with verb
(By no means is the above an exhaustive list of what she has written about social stories. Please ready up on her work if you want to learn more!)