are often used to explain the intricacies of social interaction and other abstractions to autistic people. They look a lot like a comic book; rather than using complicated words and thus the inevitable abstractions, often beyond the autistic mind, they use pictures and sometimes text to explain a concept.
A good example of a typical social story is the image to the left, developed to explain some simple similes for autistic children. Often, parents of autistic children will have ready-made images for various purposes, from brushing your teeth in the morning to welcoming guests to the house in a proper manner. Social stories can be an excellent, often invaluable, tool, and have saved the day for probably countless families with kids on the spectrum.Jessica Kingsley Publishers
, a company specializing in part on Asperger/autism literature, publishes a sizable portion of the available books on autism spectrum disorders, so it came as no big surprise to me to find Revealing the Hidden Social Code
by Carol Gray prominently displayed. The book promises to explain "key elements of Social StoriesTM
, review the guidelines for writing them, and help writers to structure and develop their stories", and indeed, it would have been one of the more authoritative guides on the topic since Carol Gray is the originator of the concept, had it not been for a little detail.
Everywhere, those two letters. T and M. And Social Stories, capitalized. Jessica Kingsley Publishers or Carol Gray, or both, regard the concept as trademarked, and so, everywhere where the two words Social
are mentioned in each other's immediate vicinity, the letters T
follow, superscripted. Bla bla Social StoriesTM
bla bla bla bla Social StoriesTM
bla bla. Bla bla bla bla Social StoriesTM
bla bla bla Social StoriesTM
bla. Social StoriesTM
bla bla bla bla bla.
See what I mean? Once you've noticed, it's impossible to not
see it. See how those two letters stand out, see how they destroy whatever context the author wished to dwell in? You can't not see it.
So, for me at least, it's now impossible to buy that book because I'm afraid I'll learn not about social stories as such, but about how important it is to preserve your questionable trademark, no matter the cost.
Labels: Asperger Syndrome, autism, social stories, trademarks