The first time I saw the creator of Social Stories, Carol Gray speak was in 1996. She became one of my early autism heroes – those people I looked up to for information and support and HOPE. There was a time I even considered moving to Jenison, Michigan with Teddy so he could go to school with her, someone who actually UNDERSTOOD him. We never did move to Jenison, but just the thought that I could oddly comforted me.
After that first time hearing Carol, if a conference within five hours of me featured her, I went. Her perspective and compassion towards the autistic students she worked with, and clearly loved, moved me. Especially in those early years, when Teddy was having so much trouble in school, and I felt so terribly isolated, it was comforting to know someone in the world cared and understood. I bought her book as a reference tool and to share with school and I had a subscription to The Morning News, a quarterly publication she produced. Each time a new issue came I devoured it. It was like having a connection to the Mother Ship.
There will always be a special place in this mom’s heart for Carol Gray.
Here is another Social Story I wrote for Teddy when he was five and was having a terrible time with anxiety and meltdowns….
The Angry Monster In Me
Sometimes I do not get to do what I want.
Mommy, Daddy, my teacher or another adult often tell me what I should do.
Sometimes I can get really mad when I am told to do something I don’t want to do.
I may want to play 5 more minutes.
I may want something else to eat.
I may want to do something I am told I can not do.
When I am told I can’t do what I want I can get mad.
When I get mad I may start to growl.
When I get mad I may try to kick, hit or bite the person who is making me mad.
The feelings I have inside my body are really strong.
When I get really mad it is like I am an Angry Monster.
It is okay to be mad. Everybody gets mad sometimes.
But it is not okay to hurt anyone when I am mad.
Mommy, daddy, my teachers and other adults don’t hit each other when they get mad.
When I get mad there are several things I can try to do.
I can tell the adult I am with that I am mad.
I can jump up and down.
I can turn my arms into spaghetti.
If I am home I can go to my room and listen to my music.
I can go lay down in my sleeping bag and hide.
I can hit or kick or wrestle with my soft pillow.
I can ask for a really tight hug or to be rocked.
Finally, I can take a big breath, hold it, count to 10 and let it out slowly.
There are many people in my life who love me and want to help me control my anger.
I need to try really hard to notice when I am getting mad and chase the Angry Monster away.
Click to visit Carol Gray’s Social Stories website.
Above image is of the September 1997 cover of The Morning News