Social Stories

I recently attended a workshop on Autism. The day was very informative and enjoyable, full of stories about interventions that worked, those that didn't, and various quirks of students that the presenter had run across during her 23 years of working with students with Autism. 

One thing I found particularly interesting was how exactly to write a social story. Not rocket science, but I've been guilty of pinning generic social stories with the intention of using them later with students. Not bad, but not the best I could be doing either. 

Here is some background on creating social stories, then I will share the few simple steps I learned in creating a social story, and a quick sample story that I made during the workshop. 

How Social Stories Work
  1. Target a situation or behavior
  2. Gather information about the child's perspective of the story
  3. Write the story
  4. Share the story with the child
  5. Identify and support new skills in the story
What Should Be In Social Stories
  • Telling where a situation takes place
  • Telling when the a situation takes place
  • Telling who is involved with the situation
  • Telling what is occuring
  • Telling why things are occuring
You want to describe everything not just a prescribed to do list. 

Parts of a Social Story
  • Descriptive sentences
    • defines where a situation occurs, who is involved, what they are doing and why
  • Perspective sentences
    • describe a person's internal state, their knowledge, thoughts, feelings, beliefs, opinions, or physical condition/health
  •  Directive sentences
    • define what is expected as a response to a given cue or situation
    • avoid I can or I will statements
    • use I will try, I will work on, I might try, or I may try
    • the child may interpret statements literally so try to minimize presure

*Ratio of Sentences*
0-1 directive(s) to 2-5 descriptive and/or prescriptive sentences
General Guidelines to Consider
  • Form clear, specific goal or outcome of the story
  •  Tailor the text
    • first person, present or future tense
    • use WH?s as an outline
    • write and illustrate with literal accuracy
    • mention variations to situation
    • use terms like "usually" and/or "sometimes"
    • keep awareness to possible literal interpretation
    • write positive
    • make abstract terms visual and concrete
  • Consider the student's cognitive level, attention span, reading and reading comprehension levels and interests
    • helps determines content, format, and style of the story
  • Teach with Titles
    • try to identify desired outcome of a story
    • State as questions, story demonstrates resulting answer
My Example
 *Disclaimer* this is my first social story, wrote in about 5 minutes, may not be the best...

Time for Treats

My name is Aaron*
*Name has been changed
I like my school.
I like my teachers.
Sometimes, we get treats at school. (Picture of cupcakes and candy)
Sometimes, my friends bring birthday treats to celebrate.
Sometimes we earn candy in class. (Picture had a child saying I passed my test)  
Sometimes, we get candy when playing games. (Picture of a student saying Bingo)
I like it when I can have a treat. 
My teachers always let me know when there might be a treat.
There may be times when there may be treats on my teachers desk.   
My teacher will let me know if I can have one.
She may say yes, she may say no, or she may say wait till later. 
I will try to wait to get a treat until my teachers say it's okay.

This story was in mind for a student who has a new habit of taking candy from teacher's desks if any happens to be out and about. I may try to make this into an actual illustrated story and see if it helps to nip this habit in the bud.

Really, the process isn't too bad, hopefully this post helps to inspire a social story or two for all of you. What topics will your stories address? Blurting, listening, giving hugs were a few topics discussed today.   

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