What are Social Stories?
[ by Michele Gardner ]
Social Stories are a tool for teaching social skills to children with autism and related disabilities. Social stories provide an individual with accurate information about those situations that he may find difficult or confusing. The situation is described in detail and focus is given to a few key points: the important social cues, the events and reactions the individual might expect to occur in the situation, the actions and reactions that might be expected of him, and why. The goal of the story is to increase the individual’s understanding of, make him more comfortable in, and possibly suggest some appropriate responses for the situation in question.
A sample Social Story
Before we go too far into the specifics of Social Stories, let’s take a look a simple sample story.
At school, we sometimes line up.
We line up to go to the gym, to go to the library, and to go out to recess.
Sometimes my friends and I get excited when we line up, because we’re going someplace fun, like out to recess.
It is okay to get excited, but it is important to try to walk to the line. Running can cause accidents, and my friends or I could get hurt.
I will try to walk to the line.
As may be evident, Social Stories are relatively short, straightforward descriptions of social situations, specifically detailing what an individual might expect from the situation and what may be expected of him.
This is a social story I use to help some children who were having a hard time at group time. It was used with 4, 5, and 6 year olds and worked very well. Let me know if it’s useful. I wrote each page out on yellow paper with black marker and drew stick figure pictures (very simple) for a visual.
It is circle time.
When it is time for circle, I go sit in a blue chair.
I sit with my feet on the floor and my hands to myself.
It doesn’t matter who I sit next to. I will shake their hand and say good morning.
I help Mrs. G. at circle by listening…
Waiting my turn…
And sitting like a big kid in my chair.
I don’t get angry when I don’t get a turn because I will get a turn another day.
When circle is over, I wait until Mrs. G. tells me where to go.
I did great at circle today!
When I Feel Angry
Sometimes I feel angry.
All people feel angry at one time or another.
When I get angry I will find my teacher, Mommy, Daddy or another adult.
When I find them I will try to use words to tell them that I am angry.
I can say “I’m angry!” or “That makes me mad!”
It is okay to use words when I feel angry.
They will talk to me about what happened and about how I feel.
This might help me to feel better.
Wherever I am I can try to find someone to talk to about how I feel.
Time to Eat
I eat dinner with my family.
We usually eat together at the table.
Everybody has their own plate of food.
I have a plate.
Mommy has a plate.
Daddy has a plate.
Everybody eats their own food.
Everybody feeds themselves.
Mommy feeds herself.
Daddy feeds himself.
I will try to feed myself.
Sometimes I can use a fork or spoon to feed myself.
Sometimes I can use my fingers to feed myself.
I will try to use a fork, spoon or my fingers to feed myself.
If I feed myself Mommy will be happy.
If I feed myself I will probably feel very proud.
Before I go out I need to get dressed.
I can dress myself!
This makes Mommy happy.
First I can put on my socks.
Next I can put on my pants.
I might need to button or snap my pants.
Sometimes there is a zipper to zip.
After that I can put on my shirt.
I might need to button my shirt.
Then I can put on my shoes.
When I dress myself my clothes feel good and I am happy.
I can show Mommy how I dressed myself and she will be so happy!