(30 second read)
So I shared a nice social story last week (about having a successful year in 4th grade) and a colleague of mine commented that she’d like to believe that it sticks in their head when they get to school!
My bad. I forgot to mention a key ingredient: The social story needs to be read and reviewed with the child daily or almost daily for it to stick. You’re right my friend. Simply writing it once is not enough.
Why does the social story work when it is reviewed repeatedly? Cognitive Rehearsal or “reviewing in the mind” is one of the mechanisms at play. There’s plenty of research on the strategy of cognitive rehearsal, and it is used in many different forms of therapy, such as for anxiety disorders, impulse control problems, OCD, etc.
I looked up the definition of cognitive rehearsal and here goes.
Cognitive Rehearsal (APA Dictionary of Psychology)
A therapeutic technique in which a client imagines those situations that tend to produce anxiety or self-defeating behavior and then repeats positive coping statements or mentally rehearses more appropriate behavior.
What to do if the child isn’t interested in the social story? Offer a reward that is very enticing. Or set up your child’s daily schedule so that the story has to be read one time before the child can invite a friend over or go play outside on the hover board. Make it happen albeit in a pleasant way.
Hatzlacha on the new school year!