Social Stories

Social Stories are tools that are often used with children and adults who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). These stories are written in a manner that safely and simply teaches children how to navigate challenging situations. For example, Social Stories exist that teach children about what to expect when going to the dentist, the first day of school, or how to stay safe when playing outdoors.

According to Carol Gray, a pioneer in the work of Social Stories, there are several conditions for Social Stories:

  • They present information in a patient and supportive manner
  • They are descriptive of specific situations
  • They are meaningful to specific children
  • They provide information in a way that is physically, socially, and emotionally safe for the audience.

You can see a few examples of Carol Gray’s Social Stories here.

Teachers can use Social Stories to help children learn about all kinds of life situations. With a little creativity and research, teachers could create a Social Story to describe what children should expect as they transition to Kindergarten. It would be necessary for teachers to reach out to local elementary schools to find out details about the schools and daily routines.  These facts could then be worked into a story format.

Here is a list of other scenarios that can be introduced using Social Stories:

  • Preparing for a field trip
  • The arrival of a new sibling
  • What to do if you get separated from a parent in a store
  • How to enter into games or play situations
  • What to do when you feel angry, sad, frustrated, disappointed, excited, etc.
  • How to respond to bad news
  • How to transition from one activity to another
  • How to complete a task in the daily routine

While formal Social Stories are a tool used with individuals with ASD, teachers could adapt this strategy for use with all children. Teachers may find it helpful to introduce expectations and routines using stories, in addition to giving verbal instructions.