Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Short List Social Story: How to Write a Better Social Story

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We have had to use several social stories for various activities with Sensi. The scariest for me was this emergency situation.
Recently we had to do a blood draw and needed a social story. The first time we went in it was a failure. We had just finished up with our well checkup and the doctor needed Sensi to give some blood to check her levels for iron and vitamin D. 
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We went down to the lab, signed in, drank some water and waited. I explained to the phlebotomists that day that Sensi has autism and they need to explain everything to her so she understands what they are doing so she doesn't feel afraid.  They had trouble finding a vein to use and then after prodding and tapping her arms for about 5 minutes they called in another technician. The new tech was irritated that Sensi had taken off the rubber band while we waited for her. She also instructed yet another technician to hold Sensi's other arm. She put the needle in without any warning aside from all the instructions to the other techs, and Sensi pulled away from the pain. She said very irately "She backed off the needle!" I just replied that we are done for the day and we'll come back another time, and asked if Sensi could get her lolly. They were surprised and I think a little relieved to not have to hold down a kid to get a blood draw. We left before there were any bad situations to undo and gave it another try another day.

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 I googled social story blood draw and came up with this: It has lots of information about the environment and interesting pictures. 

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But upon discussing it with Sensi's speech therapist we decided that there were too many steps and too much information to address the issue at hand. She reduced the process down to 8 short steps, and practiced with her the day before the next try. We practiced again that night, and I reminded her and showed her the steps before we went into the clinic.

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Blood Draw Short List Social Story 

1.Sit in chair with hot pack on arm
2.Rubber band will squeeze around my arm
3.Put arm flat
4.The Nurse will tap,tap,tap, flick, poke.
5.They will stick the needle in, hold still. It will hurt a little bit.
6.(Pop sound effect) they will pull the syringe out
7.(Pop sound effect) they will pull the needle out
8.(Smack sound effect) Put a band-aid on. 

The nurse has the blood, I am all done helping the doctor.

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The most important thing I learned this time around is to be prepared with a social story for the medical staff. When we arrived I showed the short list social story to the phlebotomists, and explained that Sensi has autism and we worked out a story with her teachers. They all read the list and followed the script closely. I saw they made sure to check it a couple of times. 
Since Sensi knew the steps and the medical staff knew the script everyone was comfortable with what was going on and it made everything go smoothly and quickly. I was relieved it went so well, and I think everyone else was too.


Sarah H, SPL