13 Posts about Rugby League 3: A Social Story

Because Lucy is becoming more aware in different situations for a while now I’ve been trying to use social stories to give her information in advance. A social story is a story written for a specific person and situation. There is a specific process to creating a social story. I’m not sure how well I manage sticking to the process, especially as in reality I create the stories quickly very shortly ahead of things that are going to happen. There’s one part that I always try to stay true to is that it’s a supportive text giving Lucy information about what SHE can expect from us and from the experience NOT what we expect from her. 

To create social stories I generally use google slides. It’s free and quick and easy to use and I can then use any device to show Lucy the story. You could easily use powerpoint if you’re more familiar with that.

I don’t always print them out as they tend to need a lot of ink so where possible I use them as a slideshow in google slides or share as a PDF. 

This is the story I made very quickly for Lucy about the day we were going to have. 

Title page with the Batley Bulldogs logo and the words Mascot for Batley Bulldogs: A Social Story for Lucy
On this page there are 3 pictures of Lucy at previous matches and it says. Today is a special day, We’re going to watch Batley Bulldogs.

To begin with I wanted to show Lucy the things that would be the same and link it to expericnes she’s enjoyed in the past.

On this page there are the words ‘Today will be Different. We will go early.’ and the symbol from Lucy’s device for ‘different’.

I know that Lucy has seen the symbol ‘different’ a lot. Anyone who knows us also knows that being early is VERY different for us!🤣

To get this symbol from her device I used the screen grab tool on the mac. There are various ways it’s possible to do this if you want a specific symbol from someone’s device depending on the device. Try searching for ‘screen shot’ or ‘snipping tool’ to find instructions for your device. It’s a great way to use the symbols on your child’s system in other documents without additional software.

The text reads ‘We will meet some players. This is James. James is the captain.’ There is a picture of James, a man with a close shaven head, beard and moustache wearing a Batley kit which is maroon, white and gold.

To get this picture of James to look like this so it would stand out on the background I used an image from the team list on the Batley Bulldogs website https://www.batleybulldogs.co.uk/. I then saved it in my iPhone and used the new feature to cut out just the subject of the picture. There are a number of free online background removers you can use for this too.

The text on this page says ‘We will talk to the players and other people. We will take some photographs. There is the symbol for talk and photographs.

Here I used one symbol from Lucy’s device and one from the Global Symbols bank of symbols. I chose this one as it’s not a word Lucy has on her device yet and I thought this looked most like the action of taking photos.

The text reads ‘You will go onto the field with the players at the start.’ with the symbols for ‘you’ and ‘on’ from Lucy’s device. There’s also an image of the field.
There is a picture of JAmes and one of Lucy in her wheelchiar. It says ‘James will push you in your wheelchair’
The next page has an old picture of a Batley team with a little boy as a mascot and the symbol for ‘fun’. The Words say ‘This is called being a mascot. Kids can be mascots for their favourite teams. It’s fun to be a mascot.’

I grabbed this picture from the Batley Supporters group as I wanted to show being a mascot in a similar situation to what Lucy would be doing. Admittedly this picture is from som years ago…sometime in the 90s based on the shirts and some players I recognise from way back. This kid is almost certainly in his 30s now.

There are symbols for excited, scared and stop and the text reads ‘It might feel exciting. It might feel scary. If you wnat to stop that’s OK. Just let Mummy and Daddy know.’

It felt important to let Lucy know that she did have control and that if she was upset we would help her. This did happen at one point when we tried to get a picture of just her with the players so Drew and I joined her for the pictures for reassurance.

The text says ‘Mummy and Daddy will watch’ and there are the buttons with Mummy and Daddy on and the symbol for ‘see’.
The last page says ‘Then we will go watch the match. Go Bulldogs!’ There is a picture of us as a family the very first time Lucy came to Batley and the ‘Go Bulldogs’ button from her device.

Once again I’ve been pinching images from the Batley Bulldogs website. I’d like to say I got permission but I didn’t so I’m hoping for forgiveness! On this occasion I used the symbol to cover the badge on Drew’s Bradford Bulls shirt!

Before the day I sent this to James Brown and Mark Wells (one of the club directors) so they knew what information Lucy was getting.

I feel like there’s lots more I could learn about making stories for Lucy. I think I tend to place symbols in fairly random positions on pages. I actually wonder if it would be better not to have symbols but I find them helpful for ideas I can’t find a picture for like ‘different’ and ‘excited’ for example. I think for anyone working with people who have communication difficulties using free resources like Google slides and relevant personal images it’s worth having a go at giving information.

More about social stories.

The term social stories gets used a lot for a lot of different things. Sometimes appropriate and sometimes not. If it’s something you’re interested in learning more about I suggest this podcast (https://uniquelyhuman.com/2021/02/19/interview-with-carol-gray-the-queen-of-social-stories/) and this website https://carolgraysocialstories.com.

Symbol acknowlegements:

By Government of Aragón · Creative Commons BY NC SA 4.0.

PCS Symbols (C) Tobii Dynavox used with Permission.



2 Responses

  1. Absolutely marvellous how people like Lucy are no longer hidden away today and are able to communicate their own feelings rather than a parent or carer having to assume for them. It was some day for her, some day for the club and a humbling experience. Hoping Lucy keeps saying ‘I want to go watch The Bulldogs’!!

    • Phil thank you so much for those lovely comments. I totally agree that its so important disabled people aren’t ‘hidden away’ like you say and looking at history that was the case not so long ago. It’s humbling for me to see the impact Lucy’s had too.

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