Introducing the Social Story

Lyn's speech therapist is introducing a social story into Lyn's therapeutic approach.

Social stories are stories about an event that are designed to help an individual understand what's going to happen and what are appropriate responses in a particular situation.  Social stories can be used to illustrate any event or situation which the individual needs additional preparation to understand.  Sometimes, the situation is easier to understand when it is described in the third person or if there are pictures to go along with it.

When my little one was about to go to the dentist for the first time, we picked up a published story to help introduce what should be anticipated at the dentist.  We actually use social stories fairly often with my child because it really helps.  A similar approach is being introduced with Lyn.

This has become necessary because Lyn has started refusing to allow the dental hygienist to use the ultrasonic scaler.  Lyn will allow the hygienist to use the traditional scaler.  It uses water and vibration to remove the plaque.  It is more effective and easier than the old scalers.  Lyn goes to the dentist every 4 months and cannot remember from one time to the next that the ultrasonic scaler is preferred and won't hurt her.  When she cannot understand a change, she refuses to cooperate with it.

The refusal of the ultrasonic scaler was brought to Mom's attention the first time it happened and again the second time.  Mom mentioned this change to Lyn's speech therapist who immediately suggested the social story.

She's scheduled for her next appointment in a week.  The day before the appointment, Lyn's scheduled with her speech therapist.  The therapist is writing a story about Lyn visiting the dentist and the hygienist using the ultrasonic scaler.  They will review the story in their therapy session and, I believe, Lyn will have the story at hand so she can review it with Mom before they go to the dentist's office.  The hope is that it will normalize the experience and help Lyn feel comfortable enough with knowing what is going to happen that she'll allow the hygienist to use the preferred tool.  The hygienist is familiar with the use of social stories to help patients get through visits and excited to know that one is being used with Lyn.


  1. That's great that the hygienist has worked with people who use social stories before!

  2. Definitely a smart way of easing your kid into what should hopefully be a habit. Trips to the dentist are necessary as a routine health precaution, as much as a rite of passage. Social stories are a great help in orienting young people, especially those with disabilities, about the importance and necessity of such a practice in ways that will be understood. Dental service should only be well enough to deserve that effort.

    Jason Dew @ Metro Dental Associates


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