Behavior Challenges in Special Needs Ministry
Children with special needs may show challenging behavior in response to frustration, needs not being met, and more. Social mini-stories are one way to help children know what is going on and better ways to respond. In this blog post, we’ll talk about social mini-stories and how you can use them for behavior challenges in special needs ministry.
What is a social mini-story?
The goal of a social mini-story is to describe a situation that may upset a child with special needs. It lead the child through the situation and offers ways to respond. You would go over the social mini-story with the child at the start of Sunday School. For example, if a child is a runner, the social mini-story would suggest that the child run to a safe place instead of randomly out the door.
Why is it “mini”? Each social mini-story can be printed in black-and-white on one piece of paper and then easily assembled as a small booklet.
Who needs a social mini-story?
Children can have big feelings and not know how to deal with them. As an adult, I can have big feelings and want to take a nap to shut everything out! social mini-stories let children know the big feelings are okay and expectations for appropriate reactions and responses.
Social mini-stories are for children who have challenging behaviors and need to know better ways to react for safety.
Here is the Downloadable Files for A Safe Space Social Mini-Story
- Safe Space Social Mini-Story (PDF)
- More Social Mini-Stories (Members only PDF)
Do social mini-stories really work?
Yes. I wouldn’t be telling you about them if I had not personally seen behavior changes from using social mini-stories.
One thing I like about social mini-stories is that the focus is on the situation, not the child. For example, social mini-stories offer that music can be loud and overwhelming and that noise-canceling headphones can be a solution. They do not tell the child that music will happen at church, it’s not that loud, and just deal with it and stop screaming.
Social mini-stories are not a magic wand. They need to be presented consistently over time and referred back to as needed.
Okay, I’m ready to try social mini-stories. Where are they?
I have sketched out quick stick figure social stories on sticky notes. But that’s not really ideal. The Adapted Word has a variety of social mini-stories ready for you to print and use.
Behavior challenges in special needs ministry can be hard on everyone – the staff/volunteers, other children, and the family. Social mini-stories are a quick easy way to teach children about situations that may be upsetting to them and appropriate expectations for responses and reactions.
To gain access to all our social mini-stories, Join the Adapted Word Club!
Here you will find hundreds of lessons, a community of KidMin Leaders for support, and a growing library of resources.