Creating and Using Social Stories

Brief Introduction: Social StoriesTM, created by Carol Gray, are a type of social narrative that provides direct instruction of social situations. Social stories are text or “stories” describing a specific social situation that can be used to sequence, explain and illustrate social rules or concepts as well as give the reader some perspective on the behaviors of others in the targeted social situation. The story can include what others are thinking and feeling, or explain the motives and actions of others in the situation described in the story. Social stories present this information in a structured and consistent manner, which can be especially helpful when dealing with skills and behaviors as fluid as those involved in social interactions.

Social stories can be used to teach your child what to do in a given situation, to replace the less desirable things that he might be doing now when he encounters that situation. For example, a social story can be written to help your child replace having a tearful “meltdown” when he drops the ball during a game at recess with reminding himself that “making mistakes is okay”. A social story can also be developed to explain a confusing, frustrating or potentially anxiety-producing situation, such as “what to expect when we fly on an airplane” or “my first day of kindergarten”.

As you might have guessed, there are hundreds of potential topics for social stories—anything and everything from “greeting someone when you enter the room” to “using your social filter” to avoid saying something that might upset the listener. The following article explains more about how to develop and use your own social stories with your child and also includes links for accessing pre-written stories and other resources.

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