Social stories are a great way of helping a person with ASD understand what is going to happen in a given situation, how they may feel during this time, and what actions they can take to end the experience positively. A young person may exceed our expectations with how well they cope with one situation and then surprise us with how they may find other situations particularly difficult. It may be helpful to have a ‘stash’ of social stories to edit and print when difficulties arise or to prepare for a situations that may cause anxiety.
A few points to remember;
- Social stories should have an introduction, middle and positive ending. The ‘story’ should be accompanied by appropriate photos or pictures.
- Questions should be answered; What will happen? How will I feel? When will it happen? Why does it happen?
- The social story should appeal directly to the individual. Where possible, use interests and information that the young person can relate to. The cognitive ability of the child should be reflected in how and what is written in the social story – do not use complicated or too much language for a small child who wouldn’t understand. Similarly, the social story could be turned into a magazine article or comic strip for those older, more able students. There are also some new social story apps available for iPad.
- Consider if the text should be written in the first or third person, depending on the age and ability of the young person.
- The social story needs to be written to encourage appropriate behaviour, and therefore expected actions need to be outlined.
- Role play can accompany the story to help the individual to understand the situation.
Examples of social stories;
- Moving to a new school
- A new baby in the family
- Toilet training
- Shopping in the community
- A new member of staff in the classroom
- How to follow the school rules
And many many more!
Please see the ‘Social Stories’ section for a few examples to download and edit.