Story of your life (Social Stories)

You may have heard your Speech Pathologist telling you about Social Stories, but what is a Social Story?

Social Stories were initially developed for use with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They’re now used to help other children with learning and intellectual disorders.

Social stories (developed by Carol Gray) are stories that help children and adolescents to understand a skill, concept or situation, and this helps to guide behaviour. Social stories include information about social cues, responses and perspectives in a specific format and design.

Sometimes generic social stories are used for common situations to save time. However, the best social stories are personalised. This means they are written in conjunction with the child, adolescent or parent, and using their own words if possible.

Ideally social stories should also contain photos relevant to the child or adolescent (such as photos of themselves) or their own drawings.

How do I write a social story?

Social stories should be written from the perspective of the child or adolescent. For example, ‘When my friend at school ….’. Social stories should be positive and should include specific information about the desired behaviour.

Descriptive information should be provided about what, where and who. The feelings, perspectives and responses of others are also usually included in the story. Importantly, when writing a social story we also need to consider the child’s understanding of language, including their vocabulary knowledge, and what motivates them.

The first few social stories that are written with/for a child or adolescent should be done with guidance from someone with experience.

Can you show me an example?

The example in this post was written for a child to explain daylight savings.

What happens once the story is written?

Once the story is finished it is important to read and re-read it regularly when it is relevant. If the story corresponds to an event, such as a school excursion, it is often a good idea to read the story daily for the two weeks prior to the event. This provides the child or adolescent with a regular reminder about what to expect, and it can provide opportunities to discuss any pre-existing worries relating to the event.

Feel free to download this!

For further information about social stories please contact your Speech Pathologist.


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