Social Stories for Problem Behaviors – App
Contributed by Lori Markland, Director of Communications, MDTAP
Kids are heading back to school, mornings and evenings are hectic, and stresses are everywhere. I know that in my house alone, my 6-year-old and 9-year-old bicker at least 3 times in the 1.5 hours before we leave for school (seriously, like every single day), and sometimes, that bickering goes beyond complaining and yelling.
For example, this morning alone, one of the kiddos threw a headband at the other, and one decided to loudly proclaim that she had secrets that she would most certainly NOT tell her sister, leading to screaming, tears, slamming doors, a broken toy, and tattling. Compound all of this with my 6-year-old who struggles at home with anger management, understanding emotions, and acceptance, these otherwise-minor sisterly infractions turn into all-out war. In the end, we made it to school happily (albeit 10 minutes late), with most grievances forgotten and consequences not a reality until this evening. But, I believe that there has to be a better way. Thus, when I discovered the Social Stories For Problem Behaviors App in my research this morning, I was more than delighted to share it with readers (and will certainly be looking into it for my younger child).
Covering 5 main behavior issues, the app is designed to help kids work through their various emotions –
- Calm Counter includes a social story and a visual/audio tool that walks children through self-calming strategies when they are angry or anxious.
- Wait Timer includes an illustrated social story about waiting, and a colorful audio/visual timer that can be set to any amount of time & runs in the background of other apps.
- Turn Taker teaches taking turns & good sharing behavior with an illustrated social story, a customizable sharing timer and a prompting tool.
- Going Shopping includes a social story and visual tool to help reduce problem behaviors caused by children wanting to pick out a toy or treat for themselves when in a shop or store.
- Running Social Story teaches children about not running away, and running safety. It includes a visual tool to cue children when it is safe to run and when it is not safe to run.
I plan to take some time with my 6-year-old to focus on this app and will be sure to follow-up on what helped, what didn’t, and her thoughts on using this “tool.” Fingers crossed that maybe, just maybe, it helps to ease the stress of mornings and navigating the ever-changing dynamics of the relationship with her sister.