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Q&A Series: Parents ask about social emotional support

Today’s Q&A: How can a reverse social story be part of family behavior support around the holidays?

A: A reverse social story helps others relate to our loved ones.

A reverse story is related to the “social story”, but it is not one that your child will use. Instead, it is one designed to help OTHERS relate to your child or loved one.

What’s a “reverse social story” for?

Cusp Emergence uses Reverse Social Stories to address physical, behavioral, social, emotional, memory or cognitive, or a combination of these needs.

A Reverse Social Story facilitates relating to your loved one by using a combination of words and pictures, depending on the audience, that tell a story.

In this story, you can

  • Highlight what your loved one is great at doing
  • Help others understand how to support your loved one’s special need or challenge
  • Name specific ways your child or loved one can be involved and participate in meaningful events and interactions
  • Review specific challenges your loved one faces, and describe to others how to:

talk about these challenges

prevent unsafe interactions

redirect challenging interactions to become more therapeutic and supportive

provide supportive environments during special times or events including:

holidays, parties, family emergencies, babysitting or respite care, trips to the community, transitions, or unexpected changes

How can circles of friends and acquaintances use the “reverse social story”?

Ways people have benefited from the reverse social story include:

  • Family members of a child or family member with special needs read it to prepare for his holiday visit
  • The boss and co-workers of a woman whose son had special needs, read it to prepare for his attendance at a company picnic
  • The preschool staff at a child’s new school read it to prepare for his transition into their classroom
  • The family members of a woman with Alzheimer’s used it to share their mom’s preferences, needs, and locations of special items, with new nursing home staff.
  • The young cousins of a child with Autism learned in advance how to include him in play and conversations
  • The aunts and uncles of a little girl with Rett’s syndrome learned ways to prevent unsafe behaviors while babysitting while visiting over the holidays

Who writes a “reverse social story”?

We can help…

As a behavior analyst and social emotional support provider, Dr. Kolu facilitates writing Reverse Social Stories for clients. Cusp Emergence offers workshops on Writing and Using your Family’s Reverse Social Story.

Or you can do it yourself.

After a brief training on how to write a Reverse Social Story, one of our clients (a mother of a young child with special needs) wrote one of the most useful, beautiful Reverse Social Stories we’ve ever read.

Coming Next: What to include in your family’s “reverse social story”