Thursday, May 16, 2024

Social Story About Autism

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These social stories often contain subtle messages that encourage the child to be more like their peers, to seek the approval and pride of authority figures, and to take responsibility for how others treat them. Social stories even tell children how they are supposed to feel, and why.

When autistic adults see these social stories, they can immediately spot the problems that others often miss. For example, the images below were shared with NeuroClastic by a concerned mother. Her autistic child had been put in a social skills class. These images are from a social story about not interrupting.

Here it is with my re-write:

Posting this to Twitter got a strong emotional response from many autistic people who agreed:

Heres how people traumatized autistic children in broad daylight. An #ActuallyAutistic translation of a social story for an autistic kid about not interrupting others. #AskingAutistics seem true to your whole damn life? #Accomodation#Gaslighting#children

NeuroClastic #iDISSENT #noncompliant #resist

Like this one:

And the autistic interpretation:

What Are The Components Of A Social Story

These stories are generally written in a sentence format. There are seven basic sentences that are generally used in its construction for children with special needs. These are:

  • Perspective sentences General descriptions of the internal state of another person like his/her knowledge, thoughts, beliefs, feelings, motivations, and opinions, as well as his/her physical condition.

Example: My brother likes to swim.

  • Descriptive sentences Answers the why questions in a social situation or event. They are factual and observable sentences that are free from assumptions and opinions and are used to identify the most important factors in a social situation.

Example: Children go to school to study.

  • Directive sentences Presents a response or choice of actions to a given situation or event in a positive way.

Example: I will brush my teeth after each meal.

  • Control sentences These are written by the child who just heard the story. These are used to identify or remember the personal strategies or solutions that the child will use to recall and use information.

Example: I need to brush my teeth after each meal to keep them healthy.

  • Affirmative sentences These sentences are used to support or reinforce the meaning of statements and may stress a shared value or opinion. These can be employed along with directive, perspective, or descriptive sentences.

Example: I will try to brush my teeth after each meal. It is very important to have healthy teeth.

Taking A Break Social Story

Teaching children with autism and other special needs about taking a break using a social story is so helpful. It can provide information about what to do when they are feeling overwhelmed or dysregulated. Its a skill that is often an IEP goal for many young autistic children. Teaching children how to recognize their emotions can take time. It alsoRead More

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Imagine The Goal Of Your Social Story

First, you need to picture your social storys purpose and what you are trying to achieve with it. Is the goal to teach kids socially acceptable decorum in public or table manners? Whatever it is, have the image at the back of your mind.

Once you have done that, answer the question: What is the most important thing I want the kids to understand after reading this story?

For a story teaching proper table manners, it could explain why people need to cover their mouths when eating, or why talking while eating isnt a good thing.

Presenting A Social Story

Pin by Suzanne ORourke on teaching

Once your story is complete, introduce it to the child and ask probing questions. How do you think he feels?What could he do? It takes several tries and hard work to understand and chance behaviors, so it is important to read and reread the story. Leave it out where the child can access it independently and reference it when the issue arises. Remember what happened in the story?Lets go see how she solved her problem.

Social stories are a fun, engaging way to introduce children to new experiences and expectations. For more information and resources, check out these examples:

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What Are Social Stories

Social storiesTMwere created by Carol Gray in 1991. They are short descriptions of a particular situation, event or activity, which include specific information about what to expect in that situation and why.

The terms ‘social story’ and ‘social stories’ are trademarks originated and owned byCarol Gray.

Who Can I Kiss

A social story about appropriate behavior in a variety of settings, specifically about kissing.

Sometimes children with autism don’t know how to express themselves around their peers, and, being used to being kissed at home, don’t understand why it’s not okay at school.

If your child is kissing other students at school, this social story explains why that is not appropriate, and provides ideas for positive replacement behaviors that are more acceptable among peers.

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Common Uses Of Social Stories

  • Teach children to complete a simple task such as removing a jacket and putting away a lunchbox.
  • Help individuals to prepare a complex or challenging situation such as a social event or an outing that is likely to include social expectations and/or sensory assaults.
  • Help individuals to understand and respond to body language, facial expressions, or vocal tones.
  • Provide options in a social skills group or similar setting.
  • Prepare individuals for unique events such as a wedding, job interview, or date.

Social Stories And Supplementary Tactics


Social stories are frequently used with other tactics for example, imitation, prompting, priming and positive reinforcement. These tactics are often used to “supplement” the story and increase its effectiveness.

As an example, Chan and OReilly implemented a Social Story intervention for two boys with autism in an inclusive classroom. For simplicity we will use the information from just one boy, Matt, who was 6 years old. During circle-time in school Matt would:

  • sit in a way that would cause his peers to have to lean or move away from him.
  • not raise his hand when the class were asked questions.
  • make inappropriate noises and comments.

One social story was created for each of the three behaviours and each was read by Matt in the mornings just before school .

They used three steps:

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Printable Social Stories For Kids

Looking for printable social stories for kids? Here you’ll find lots of free social stories examples and even some social story templates to help you write your own.printable social stories for kidsThis post contains affiliate links. Basically, I make a small commission when you use these links, at no additional cost to you.

Keeping Clothes On Story

This free Keeping Clothes On story is a tool to help you at home or school. Some children with autism and other disabilities, do not yet understand the concept of keeping clothes on at school. Maybe they have sensory differences, and clothes are uncomfortable. Many times, their bodies are dysregulated. It is important to meet as a team to tryRead More

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Autism Little Learners Social Stories

Are you using social stories at home or school? Social stories are an evidence-based intervention for individuals with autism, no matter what their age. Research shows that social stories work, and I can attest to that! This list of stories will continue to be updated as I create more.

Carol Gray developed social stories in 1990. Her work as a pioneer in the field of autism is highly respected. To read more, learn about her resources, or sign up for a training, .

To narrow it down, the Autism Little Learners social stories are also listed specific to school, home, community, and COVID.

To read more about how to write a social story, check out this article from Autism Parenting Magazine!

Getting Started With Visual Stories

Pin by Amanda Bieber on Social Stories

Start the story with a simple phrase. Then, introduce social stories in a quiet setting one at a time, allowing the child to focus on one concept. Sit with your child and read in a gentle tone that matches the reassuring text.

It is recommended that the story is reviewed once a day initially, just prior to the situation described if for a recurring task. Additions or revisions can be implemented as understanding increases.

Take a look at an example of a visual story.

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All Done Wearing Masks Story

The All Done Wearing Masks story will help children make the shift from wearing a mask to not wearing a mask. For some of our autistic students, wearing a mask has become part of their routine at school. It can be difficult to change routines. This free short story will provide information to assist children with this change. I hopeRead More

Where To Find Free Printable Or Inexpensive Social Stories

Fortunately, with the limitless resources online as well as the development of social skill-specific apps, there are an unbelievable number of places to access visual supports and social stories on a range of topics. You will need to vet each of these possibilities against your childs learning style and customize them based on your childs needs and the social situation you are looking to reinforce.

Check out these websites for more information on where to find visual supports and social stories:

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Advantages Of Using Social Stories

  • Memory development. Reading and rereading stories that include a series of events helps young children practice their memory skills, including prediction.
  • Empathy. Social stories address the feelings and opinions of characters, meaning several points of view can be represented. When children are exposed to others perspectives, it encourages the development of empathy or understanding of how ones actions affect and impact others.
  • Concrete instruction. Creating social stories for young children is an opportunity to connect with a childs personal experiences and build upon their current understanding. Children are more likely to learn from the strategies used in the literature if they can relate to them.
  • Clear communication. When children clearly understand what is expected of them and they are given specific instructions, they are better prepared to learn strategies and norms and follow them through.
  • Literacy skills. Any opportunity to practice building literacy skills with your child is beneficial.

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The Definition Of A Social Story

Autism Help – How to Write Social Stories for Kids

In its most basic sense, a social story is a short story with realistic pictures which is intended to help an autistic child, teen, or adult to better understand and/or navigate his or her world. According to Carol Gray’s website:

A Social Story accurately describes a context, skill, achievement, or concept according to 10 defining criteria. These criteria guide Story research, development, and implementation to ensure an overall patient and supportive quality, and a format, voice, content, and learning experience that is descriptive, meaningful, and physically, socially, and emotionally safe for the child, adolescent, or adult with autism.

According to Carol Gray, the criteria for a good social story, in summary, are as follows:

  • Understand your audience and his/her attitude toward the skill, concept or situation being described.
  • Include a title, introduction, body, and summarizing conclusion in each social story.
  • When writing, use a first or third-person voice, have a positive tone, be absolutely literal and accurate.
  • Answer the key questions who, what, where, why, when, and how.
  • Include descriptive sentences as well as coaching sentences.
  • Describe more than you direct.
  • Review and refine your social stories before presenting them.
  • Plan before you write, monitor outcomes, mix and match as needed, provide both instruction and applause.
  • Include at least 50% “applause” for the audience.
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    Example Of A Social Story

    An example of the text used in a Social Story might be as follows:

    • Every day I go to recess.
    • I go to recess after lunch.
    • First I put on my jacket. Then I line up.
    • If the weather is nice, I go to the playground.
    • I can choose to go on the swing, the slide, or the jungle gym.
    • Sometimes I can go straight to my favorite equipment.
    • Sometimes I wait my turn.
    • I can choose to play with friends or play alone.
    • When the bell rings, I line up to go inside.
    • Recess is a great time for exercise and fun.

    How Social Stories Are Used

    Social Stories are used to teach concepts, ideas, skills, and behaviors. In an ideal world, unique Social Stories are written and illustrated for individual people. In practice, however, pre-made social stories are often used with groups, usually in school or therapeutic settings but sometimes at home or in the community. They can be read aloud like a storybook, discussed, acted out, or shared with teachers/parents to be read aloud and shared at appropriate moments.

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    Misuse Of Social Stories

    Because Social Stories are simple, it’s easy to misuse them or create them incorrectly. Social Stories are not narratives about children behaving properly, and they are not a set of directives for completing tasks or behaving appropriately. When creating social stories, writers should avoid:

    • Stories that are made up almost entirely of directives rather than including description
    • A story that uses the second person
    • Metaphors, complex language, and other writing that may not be understood
    • Stories that are not completely accurate
    • Stories that suggest judgment or threats

    Another common error in the creation of Social Studies is the misuse of visuals. Images are intended to be as realistic, accurate, and meaningful as possible. Nevertheless, many creators of Social Stories litter their work with clip art, emojis, and other items which “decorate” the story but convey no meaning to the person reading it.

    Do Social Stories Work

    When I am Frustrated A Social Story for Autism and Behavior

    Research shows that social stories can have positive effects on the behaviour of autistic children. Research also suggests that they might be more effective at helping children manage difficult behaviour than helping them learn particular social skills.

    For social stories to work, its important that the stories are highly individualised to each childs needs and that theyre used at the right time for individual children.

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    How To Make A Social Story

    Social stories are personalized and therefore are tailored to your child specifically. The following tips for making a social story can help:

  • First, you will need to determine the particular situation or area of concern you need to address. This can be different for each child.
  • The social story will need to be tailored to the skill and age of the child using language that is appropriate and easy for them to understand. You can write the story in either the first or third person , past, future, or present tense .
  • Ensure that the social story provides adequate details about the setting, what happens in this setting, and the behaviors or actions that are expected and appropriate in this setting.
  • Use varying sentence types including descriptive, perspective, directive, and affirmative sentences. You should use more descriptive sentences than anything. Descriptive sentences explain what is happening, while perspective sentences outline how the child might typically react. The directive sentences explain the expected behaviors, and the affirmative sentences show why this is appropriate.
  • Add pictures or illustrations that are clear, represent the meaning of the story, and support the text directly.
  • How To Write A Social Story

    While there are tons of free Social Stories available online as well as printable Social Stories you can download for a minimum fee, customized Social Stories tend to do best as they can speak to your childs individual needs and include real life photos of the people and places related to the skill you are trying to teach.

    Social Stories can be as simple or complex as you want to make them dont let the gorgeous videography and photography of others scare you off! You dont need a degree in computer programming, nor do you need to be a renowned photographer to learn how to write a Social Story. All you need is a little creativity to find ways to explain life skills to your child.

    Here are some basic tips on how to write a Social Story to get you started:

  • Start with a goal. What is it you are trying to teach your child? You should only have one goal per Social Story, and it should be very clear.
  • Be a detective. Gather all of the information you need to write your Social Story. What skills does your child need in order to master the skill you are trying to teach? What obstacles do you foresee hindering your childs ability to learn this skill? What tools and props can you use to facilitate openness to learning this skill?
  • Include social scripts. If there is a verbal component to the skill you are trying to teach, make sure it is clearly outlined with a social script your child can follow.
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