Now that my son has started Kindergarten, I have become more fearful of losing him. Then, it dawned on me, for being so fearful I had yet to have the “Stranger Danger” talk with him. With all of my other children, this talk happened between the ages of two and three. How could I have not equipped him with this information before?
Could it have been that I was too busy keeping him alive and teaching him basic tasks of daily living. Of course it is. So here I am at a loss of how to teach him stranger danger. I took my search to Google for the hope of help and stumbled upon this article about a study that is being completed about teaching stranger danger skills to children with autism spectrum disorders.
Now to be honest, the information I found does not help me with this journey, but it is information that I thought I would share in the hope that some of you can benefit from it.
Also, we had a discussion on our Facebook page about teaching Stranger Danger.
Angela asked: Do you guys know of any apps that are good for teaching additional needs kids about stranger danger and good touch bad touch etc?? My son is 5 and at that curious age and I also worry about him going off with a stranger.
Dana answered: It's not an app, but good resources here: http://safelyeverafter.com/index.html. They advocate teaching about "tricky people" rather than strangers, as some strangers (police, paramedics, etc) are people who will help.
Jeannine said: I don't know any apps, but there is a curriculum called "circles" that works very well. The official curriculum is rather expensive ($700), but the concept is one that can be modified for home use. What it does is use concentric circles to demonstrate the levels of intimacy for each different type of relationship. The child is in the middle, then the family and close friends, then friends etc all the way out to acquaintances with each circle getting further and further away from the child showing that the touch gets less and less. I attached the link for it so you can see what it is. You might be able to find somewhere near you that teaches it. The curriculum is excellent. When I taught it in public school we made a life sized fabric set of circles and used that to teach the kids.
Pattie also suggested the Circles curriculum and left the link to this introductory video:
Tabby wrote: I'm following suit here...not an app, but we loved the movie The Safe Side by Julie Clark and John Walsh. It worked for my son with ASD when he was 3 (now 5) and we still refer to who is on the safe side, a kind of know, and a don't know. If u are willing to learn the language and watch it WITH your child, maybe multiple times, and review it occasionally, this video is an amazing visual tool!! We also learned about the pyramid of people which helps explain authority, subordination, bullying, as well as stranger danger vs public service men/women. Both concepts paired together have been phenomenal for my now 5 year old son.
Here are some apps that were recommended:
StoryMaker for Social Stories by Handhold Adaptive
Pattie said: I also write social stories using apps to address the same situations. and My students love to see & hear themselves when they read/watch their stories.
* CREATE SOCIAL STORIES with PICTURES and TEXT: Create as many stories as you’d like. Use up to three pictures per page, or use none. The text you use stretches automatically to fit the screen, whether you’ve typed four words or forty, on an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. Use our stock library of images, add your own from the camera, import from an external source, or search and download from the Web.
* ADD AUDIO: StoryMaker lets you add custom voice recordings to each page. Or, activate one of 10+ Text-to-Speech voices to read your text aloud.
* EMAIL AND PRINT: Email a story to yourself as a PDF, then print it from your computer.
* CUSTOMIZE LOOK AND FEEL: Select background and type colors which suit individual readers best.
* ACADEMY (EXCLUSIVE CONTENT from CAROL GRAY): Learning to write great Social Stories is now a breeze! Carol Gray’s “Academy” teaches her renowned, research-based criteria for writing effective Social Stories. Each module takes only minutes to complete, so you’ll be writing terrific stories in no time!
* CAROL’S CLASSICS (EXCLUSIVE CONTENT from CAROL GRAY): Ten of Carol’s “classic” Social Stories are included in the app. Each story can be customized and emailed or printed.
If you would like to purchase StoryMaker for Social Stories ($39.99, iPad/iPhone), please support Smart Apps for Special Needs by using our link:
iModeling Boundaries by Mighty Kingdom
iModeling stated: Autism SA has developed an app that teaches a child the boundaries of touch: iModeling Boundaries app
The iModeling Boundaries™ app teaches a child the boundaries of touch. It uses photos (uploaded by the parent/carer) of people involved in the child’s life. The child sorts these photos into groups. Each group has a specific relationship (e.g. family and friends) and a specific kind of touch (hugs and kisses) designated to it.
This sorting process needs to be guided by the parent/carer of the child. The iModeling Boundaries™ app gives the parent/carer the tool to start the conversation around the boundaries of touch and relationships.
The iModeling Boundaries™ app combines two current models of safe-touch; the contact model, which focuses on the types of contact you might have, and the relationship model, which focuses on the type of relationships you engage in. We call the iModeling Boundaries™ app a contact and relationship model.
If you would like to purchase iModeling Boundaries ($3.99, iPad Only), please support Smart Apps for Special Needs by using our link:
Staying Safe and Safer Strangers - A Stranger Danger Social Story for Autism, Down Syndrome & Other Special Needs by Touch Autism
Children with special needs often need more direct instruction of social skills like how and who to ask for help.
Teaching community safety skills to any child may be easier and less stressful when visual supports, like social stories are used. This social story explains accurate safety information and ensures that your child will know what to expect and what to do if they are lost.
Social stories are an important type of visual support often used with children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome or other special need. This social story uses simple text and descriptive pictures to explain why and how to ask for help.
Social stories were first defined by Carol Gray in 1991 and are commonly used to break down a task or social situation into small and easy to understand steps, often accompanied by descriptive pictures. Social stories are incredibly easy to implement and are used by many professionals for a wide range of behaviors.
If you would like to purchase Staying Safe and Safer Strangers ($2.99, iPad/iPhone), please support Smart Apps for Special Needs by using our link:
Now I need your help. How did you teach your special needs child about the dangers of strangers? ~Bridget
Bridget started this post and is interested in the research that is being completed.
Heather S. appreciates all the suggestions that were given for teaching Stranger Danger.