The Super Safety Series was written in a "social story format." What is a social story? Social stories are a tool created to help guide a child through a specific experience or expectation. They are written from a first-person perspective and use a formula of very specific, positive, affirming language. This helps children visualize a positive outcome to a potentially frightening, new or overwhelming experience.
Who can benefit from social stories? Social stories are appropriate tools for children of any ability. Social stories provide frequent repetition, simple sentence structure, and easy to understand information in a first-person account. This helps the individual learn and memorize new, and potentially difficult or anxiety provoking, skills. Originally created for teaching children and adults on the autism spectrum new information, skills and behaviors, educators and child development specialists are now realizing that this empowering and positive method of information delivery is useful for anyone!
Are social stories only appropriate for kids with special needs? Social stories are helpful for children of any ability, especially when learning new, unfamiliar or potentially scary information. As a Certified Child Life Specialist, I used social stories very frequently with neuro-typical (typically developing) children and found them to be just as helpful and effective of a teaching tool. Children of any age regress developmentally when faced with life changes, scary or overwhelming information and tasks. Social stories are an amazing tool that meet the child where they are, break the information down into easy to understand and relatable chunks, provide reassurance, and help the child visualize a positive outcome. Any child can see benefits!And, with more and more children having adverse reactions to drills, providing safe information in a child friendly, developmentally appropriate, engaging, relatable and easily memorized format is the best approach.
Is options-based teaching, also commonly referred to as "Run, Hide, Fight", or ALICE, discussed in the book I Can Be A Superhero During A Lockdown? The bestselling book I Can Be A Superhero During A Lockdown focuses on teaching children three important jobs rather than an option-based (or run, hide, fight) approach. This decision was based on recent research and an in-depth understanding of child development. Recent research shows that options-based teaching is only sometimes effective for adults and has no positive effects on children. When faced with a difficult decision in a traumatic situation, children will often freeze rather than making a decision or may even make the wrong choice. However, with the focus on encouraging the child to listen to their teacher, or the adult in charge, and always follow all of his or her directions, the book can be bended to fit your school's protocol. In this way, options-based teaching CAN still be implemented as needed.