Sunday, December 12, 2010

How Not to Dance: A Prom Social Story

We just received the winter/spring catalog from our local special needs recreation association, and I saw in the teen section that they are holding a prom in March.  There was even a little picture, presumably from last year's dance, and it was very sweet but I couldn't help but get a little bit sad.  School dances and proms are #873 on the list of things that I'm not sure Audrey will ever do.

It also reminded me of articles that I'd read a couple of months ago about special needs students being allowed to appear on ballots for Homecoming courts, with several of them even being crowned king or queen.  I'd love to think that Audrey might have enough friends or popularity for that, but I'd be more than happy for her just to attend.

Who knows where we will be when she reaches that age.  Will she have friends?  Will boys be interested in her?  Where will her social skills be at?  Will I still be writing social stories for her to help her adjust to new situations?

Going To Prom

On Saturday, I will be going to my high school prom.  I'm so excited to be going to my prom.  

But I should not get too excited if the music is loud or if there is a mirrored disco ball.  I should try to keep calm hands and arms.

I should try not to kick shins, punch kidneys, butt heads, or poke out eyes when I "dance".

I should only smell my corsage once.

I should not touch all the food on the buffet or take a bite out of something and put it back.

I should not eat off of anyone else's plate but my own.

If someone starts crying for any reason, I should not laugh at them.

I should not kiss any boys or let them kiss me (Ed. note: this has nothing to do with her autism)

I will be wearing a beautiful strapless gown and sandals that my Mom let me get only if I promised not to rub my fingers in my armpits or between my toes and then smell them.

Hopefully we will not still be using a reinforcement system.  And if we are, God help me if she is still motivated by Baby Einstein DVD's.


  1. I could have used this social story before the last holiday party I attended. My wife will never let me wear a strapless gown and sandals again.

    Love your tux. When did you start wearing contact lenses?

  2. My hubby could use the part in your story about dancing for many situations. Your picture of Mary Katherine Gallagher was cracking me up... Superstar!

  3. Wait a sec. It is not ok to laugh at people when they cry?


  4. My son will take her. We can use the same social story for him if we add not having a meltdown

  5. Shit, that's stuff I tell my kids not to do all the time.

  6. Oh, thank goodness...I thought my kids were the only "older" kids who still enjoy Baby Einstein DVDs. Whew!

  7. That's great! But remember, going to the prom or even being prom queen isn't all it's cracked up to be. Remember Carrie?

    I do like the kissing comment. I'll have to remember that with my daughter. Although I suspect she'll be chasing after the boys to kiss them long before the prom. Sigh.

  8. Waaayyyy too early for us to be going here Lynn. BUT if we must, our social story would also include putting your hands in your pull up and then smelling your hands.

    Great post! You always think of the best ideas before me!

  9. My social story would have a line in it about finding an appropriate time to air your nether regions. And I suspect I would have to change the corsage bit to telling him not to eat it. XXX

  10. Yeah, she will have kissed plenty of boys by then. Let's hear it for kissing girls!

  11. She's a knockout now and I'm sure she'll be a knockout then. My guess is that you'll have some little Bill Gates-ish geek on your front porch before you're even ready. She will make us proud by giving "playing hard to get" a whole new meaning.

    I'm also guessing that parents of typicals everywhere would be using you social story for their own kids on prom night......... If they knew what one was.

  12. Maybe your sweet girl will not have all the experiences you had planned for her; that certainly is possible. But you know what, she may have an abundance of experiences you could never have imagined that will enrich her beyond measure.

    My bright boy has not had a lot of the traditional experiences that soon-to-be-21-year-olds have, but he's happy, and he goes to at least three dances a year at the day center he attends. He's had four girl friends, too, a real date, and some kisses, all of which have been wonderful surprises for him and his dad and me.

    Do not close the door on the future. Hee, and bring along some social stories (we all need them!), along with incentives, which I bet you can switch to chocolate (gods know that works on me!).

  13. That's a great story. Sounds like you have everything covered. Even to keeping the boys away!!

  14. Ahhh...yes, I have these worries/wonders/thoughts as well. I have no doubt Billy would enjoy a prom -- even NOW -- but considering how much of his dancing resembles "Kung Fu Fighting," I'm not holding out much hope for prom king.

    But if Audrey doesn't have other plans (and she's willing to wear protective gear) consider the invitation forthcoming in about 13 more years :-)

    Of course, I have no doubt that her dance card is going to be VERY full.

  15. Big Daddy, I am clearly not getting invited to the right parties.

    Your gorgeous girl will be attending any dances she wants to. Good thing you added the line about
    kissing boys.

  16. I know who to turn to for social stories from now on. do I keep food porn and Big Daddy off my blog?

  17. @CherylD: I think that I will be the one pulling a Carrie if things don't go well.

    @Jean: Yeah, I could have added a line about not pulling her dress up over her head.

    @j: who knew? You wild thing.

    @Aimee: Yes, we will be able to call the lack of social skills "playing hard to get"...good one.

    @KWombles: Chocolate already got her potty-trained...hopefully it will not lose its power...hasn't for me.

    @Amanda: Well, if they're going to get married, we'd better make sure that they can make it through a prom together.

    @Claire: Can't help you shake Big Daddy...I've been trying for months.

  18. Hello, I just found you via your spoof Christmas letters, and I thought you might like to ‘meet’ one of the other bloggers I follow: Alicia D and her profoundly disabled autistic 15 year old daughter CB. And in particular, the blogging she did about CB's first prom.