Behavior Challenges in Special Needs Ministry

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

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.

Simply click the image below to GET ALL OF OUR LESSONS!

Don’t forget to Pin this lesson on behavior challenges in special needs ministry!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *