What Are Social Stories
Social stories are the visual representation of situations or events that happen in our lives. Modeling is a powerful tool to teaching children on the autism spectrum, children with communicative disorders as well as other disabilities that affect their ability to understand abstract information. The story helps depict some particular social skill, life skill or behaviors that are acted out using visual strategies of symbols, pictures and verbal instruction. These strategies take a concrete approach to learning to help the individual understand what is being said, how they should react and how to recognize situations that occur that they may be struggling with.
What is a good social story?
A good social story will focus on a particular event that provides information to a social, emotional, behavioral, or everyday life skill event. This can include trips to the store, how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, meeting new people, playing appropriately with others as well as appropriate manners at the table, in community settings or when becoming frustrated or angry.
Social stories should address:
- Confusing situations for children with autism such as social situations. They should provide details and information that creates a concrete understanding of abstract thoughts.
- It should explain how to react to certain situations and the expected behaviors they should engage in during these events.
- A social story will explain the consequences to unwanted actions and what could happen if they engage in those inappropriate behaviors.
- Social stories can even explain simple things like everyday life skills such as going to the bathroom and why it is important. Many of our children struggle in this area.
- A social story can explain the actions of others and how they should react in those situations such as when someone tries to get you to do something you know is wrong, teases you, or doesn’t want to play with you. Situations like these are difficult for individuals with poor social skills and creating that concrete understanding helps them develop the coping skills needed to address these situations in everyday life.
Social stories provide a concrete form of learning that is a role model for appropriate behavior. It creates a main character in a story that allows the child to identify with the story and the strategies they use to respond appropriately to situations they may struggle with in life. Providing an individual with special needs a solid form of learning everyday life skills is a great way to improve their ability to be more independent and successful in life.