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Social Stories

Social stories are short stories, often with visual or pictorial prompts, designed to improve communication and behavior in persons with special needs and/or children, by presenting social situations in simple, concrete terms. Social stories may be written specifically for an individual to help them deal with new experiences-or may be purchased commercially.

The following is an example of a social story written specifically for Hunter's trip to the dentist.

Hunter's Trip to the Dentist

Mom and dad say that I need to go to the dentist because I have a hole in my tooth, and because I need to have my teeth cleaned. I have a hole in my tooth called a cavity. Cavities happen sometimes when germs called bacteria get into your teeth. Brushing and flossing your teeth makes the germs go away.

I brush my teeth twice a day, but I need to brush longer and more carefully each time. I have also not been flossing between my teeth. This may be why I have a cavity in one of my teeth-and this is why it hurts my tooth now when I eat ice cream. Mom and Dad don't like it when something hurts me. Mom and Dad really care about me.

A dentist is a special doctor who takes care of people's teeth. I am going to visit the same dentist that Mom and Dad go to. His name is Dr. Mink. Mom and Dad say that he is really nice. I will have to sit in a special chair that moves up and down. Dr. Mink will look at my teeth. He may also take an x-ray of my tooth. An X-ray machine can take a special picture of the inside parts of you. The X-ray machine is much bigger than a regular camera but it will not hurt me. Dr. Mink may need to see the inside parts of my tooth.

Dr. Mink likes to help people with their teeth. His assistant will clean my teeth. After my teeth are clean Dr. Mink will make an appointment for me to come back and have the hole in my tooth fixed. The hole must be fixed or it will get bigger and hurt more.

When I come back to get my tooth fixed, I will see Dr. Mink again. He will remember me and know about my tooth. I will get into the special chair and Dr. Mink will show me all his tools. He will tell me what he is going to do. Some things that Dr. Mink uses to fix my tooth may hurt a little bit. If it may hurt badly though, he will first give me medicine to stop it from hurting so much. Dr. Mink is nice and knows that sometimes it is hard for kids to be brave when something hurts or is scary. Mom and Dad know this, too.

After Dr. Mink finishes fixing the hole in my tooth, my gum and part of my mouth may feel weird or numb. This feeling will not last very long - maybe only a couple of hours. I should not eat food while my mouth feels this way, because I might bite my tongue by accident and that will hurt. After the weird feeling leaves, I will be able to eat without my tooth hurting anymore. I will even be able to eat ice cream and feel much happier!

I am very smart and responsible. I know now that I need to clean my teeth very, very, well every day or I may get a hole/cavity. I am going to do my best to really take care of my teeth now! Mom and Dad will help me. They are very glad when I take good care of myself, and I am proud too!