Hear All
About It

What's Happening
Around the Corner

Tuesday, 23 February 2016 22:26

What are Social Stories?

If you have ever wondered, “What exactly are social stories?”, or have a child that has difficulty with transitions, unexpected environments or social skills, this article is for you. I’m here to introduce social stories and hopefully inspire you to give them a try.

Social stories were developed to better help children with Autism navigate social situations, but can be helpful for many children. They can help prepare a child for an upcoming situation to make it more predictable, or teach a commonly occurring social skill. They use language that is literal and repetitive, removing all nuisances and directly teaching and reinforcing a skill or behavior.  So for the literal thinking child, social stories can be a great tool!

According to Carol Gray (2010), a social story pioneer, “a Social Story describes a situation, skill, or concept in terms of relevant social cues, perspectives, and common responses.” They can be visual stories with pictures, or written, or both. In fact, a visual schedule is a form of a social story, so reading skills or high receptive language skills are not required for all social stories. A modified social story could be as short as one sentence, such as “When I go to the store, I CAN push the cart and stay next to mom”, or as long as multiple pages.  They should be tailored to the child’s skill level. Myth or Fact: Social Stories are complicated and scary and can only be written by professionals. Myth! Anyone can write a social story, it just takes a little practice and there are guidelines that must be followed. 

IMPORTANT: Written social stories are focused on a specific skill or situation and stick to certain criteria. The following 3 sentence types make up a social story: 

  • Descriptive sentences: Describes a situation, states the facts, opinion free
    • Example: “I am going to Chucky Cheese for a birthday party. When I am at Chucky Cheese, there will be lots of kids and it will be loud”
  • Perspective sentences: Describes feelings or thoughts about a situation
    • Example: “sometimes when I hear loud noises I get upset and want to go home. If I go home I will be sad I didn’t get to stay with my friends and play.”
  • Directive sentences: Direct the desired behavior or appropriate response. Use positive language, such as “I can”. Avoid “do not”, or “I won’t”.
    • Example: “when I hear loud noise I can ask for my headphones and put them on so it will be quiet. When it is quiet I can stay at the party and have fun".

There should be 3-5 descriptive and perspective sentences for every directive sentence. Write in the first person at the child’s developmental level. 

EXAMPLE: I play with my friends at school in the playroom. There are lots of toys in the play room.  I like the green train, it is my favorite. Sometimes a friend is playing with the train. When a friend is playing with the train, I get mad and want to hit my friend. When I hit, my friend cries and my teacher is sad. I don’t like it when my friend cries. When my friend has the train, I can use my words to ask, “can I have a turn?” Sometimes my friend will say yes and sometimes they will say no. If my friend says yes, I say “thank you” and take a turn with the train. If they say no, I can say OK and play with the blocks or the legos. When my friend is done with the train, I can have a turn. When a friend is playing with the green train, I can use my words to ask “Can I have a turn?” or play with the blocks and wait for my turn. Then I am happy and my friend is happy. 

The social story should be read repeatedly before the situation occurs, whether it is daily or every day of the week prior to a special event. It often takes multiple trials to find the right fit for a child, but stick with it and the results can be powerful.

Here are some great resources with more examples of social stories:

http://challengingbehavior.fmhi.usf.edu/explore/pbs_docs/social_story_tips.pdf

http://blogs.4j.lane.edu/communityaccess/files/2013/05/Social-Story-Criteria.pdf

 

Good luck!

Sophie J. Miles, MA CCC-SLP 

 

Resources:

Cosgrave, G. (2015). Social Stories. Retrieved from: http://www.educateautism.com/social-stories.html

Broek, E., Cain, S.L., Dutkiewicz, M., Fleck, L., Grey, B., Grey, C., et al. (1994). The Original Social

Story Book. Arlington, TX: Future Education. www.thegraycenter.org

 

 

 

 

Image Gallery

{gallery}189{/gallery}
More in this category: « The Benefits of Sign Language

Latest News & Events

Highlight on Autism

CTC is recognized as an in-network/preferred provider of autism therapeutic services for all major insurance companies.

Learn More...

CTC at a Glance

  • What We Do +

    • We specialize in quality therapeutic services for children with physical, sensory, cognitive and communication needs.

    • We educate parents on their child's needs in order to effectuate the therapeutic process in home and community.

    • We use a multi-disciplinary team approach to collaborate on an effective therapeutic care plan.

    • We focus on achieving maximal independent function that carries into the child's world.

  • Areas of Treatment +

    Children's Therapy Corner's service areas include:

    • Autism Spectrum Disorders
    • Traumatic Brain Injury
    • Neuromuscular Disorders
    • Perceptual Deficits
    • Developmental Delays
    • Premature and High-Risk Infants
    • Feeding Difficulties
    • Fine Motor Problems
    • Apraxia Impairments
    • Sensory Processing
    • Therapeutic Listening

  • Program Targets +

    At Children's Therapy Corner, the results of assessments and evaluations provide individualized programs and specific targets. Developmental goals include:

    • Activities of Daily Living
    • Environmental Modifications
    • Socialization
    • Adaptation Options
    • Specific Skill Development

  • Specialized Programs +

    • P.L.A.Y. Project Home Consulting
    • Aquatic Therapy
    • Therapeutic Listening
    • Music Programs and Groups
    • Sensory Integration Education
    • Monthly Parent Education Workshops 

  • Support Services +

    Beyond hands-on therapies, Children's Therapy Corner offers many support programs and services, all taking into account the unique needs of children and their families.

    • No-Charge Initial Consultation
    • Direct Assessment
    • Trans-Disciplinary Team Assessment
    • Screenings
    • Financial Arrangement Support
    • Community Reintegration Planning
    • Individual Child Sessions
    • School Consultations
    • Educational Programs for Families
    • Community Awareness
    • Resource Materials
    • Home Programs

  • 1

CTC Shared Values

  • Treat Others with Uncompromising Truth
  • Lavish Trust on Your Associates
  • Mentor Unselfishly
  • Be Receptive to New Ideas, Regardless of Their Origin
  • Take Personal Risks for the Organization
  • Give Credit Where It’s Due
  • Do Not Touch Dishonest Dollars
  • Put the Interests of Others Before Your Own

Learn More...