Social Stories for Autism

social stories for autism

A Social Story is descriptive, short; situation-event or activity focused guide. It will provide specific information on what to expect during a particular situation, event or activity and why. 

Social Story & Social Stories were originally created by Carol Gray in 1991. For a detailed explanation on the history of what a Social Story is; click here.

What are Social Stories for?

Social Stories can help an Autistic individual to:

  • Cope with changes to routine/ unexpected events.

For example; if your child will have a new teacher in school, a Social Story is a great tool to help them understand the change that is happening and offer reassurance that despite the change happening, everything will be fine.

  • Help predict how others may behave or respond.

A Social Story can be used to explain to an Autistic individual how someone else may respond in a particular situation.

For example: Meeting new friends for the first time – a Social Story can help the Autistic individual to understand what they observe when meeting new friends.

  • Support Autistic Stability

Social stories can help support Autistic individuals to feel safe as they provide information about what to expect and what may happen. They can make abstract considerations more concrete and thus creating that predictability many Autistic people prefer.

  • Daily Living Skills.

Social Stories are an excellent tool to explain to an Autistic individual how to carry out daily living skills. For example: Learning about the hygiene during puberty.

How do Social Stories help Autistic Individuals?

  • Social stories present information in a focused way. They provide a literal concrete interpretation of what may occur.
  • Social Stories can be adapted to suit the intellectual capacity of the individual. For some Autistic Individuals, using a mix of pictures and words helps them to understand a situation, for others using just words is enough.
  • Social Stories can help an Autistic Individual to understand a past event that they previously found confusing, by explaining the event to them in terms they can understand.
  • Social Stories can help order sequence of events for the Autistic Individual.
  • Social Stories can help with (Executive functioning) planning & organizing for an event (for the return to school after the holidays).
  • Social Stories help us to understand the Autistic Individuals point of view on a situation or event.  

How to use Social Stories?

According to Carol Gray there are several ways to use a Social Story-

  1. Present the social story at a time when everyone is relaxed and calm, ready to engage.
  2. Consider ways to aid comprehension, would making the story interactive help the Autistic Individual understand more easily?
  3. Find ways to support the story afterwards. Such as create a Visual Poster of what has been learning within the story, ex- taking 5 breaths when feeling angry.
  4. Consider how often the story needs to be reviewed with the Autistic person.
  5. Consider if the story is working as effectively as you want and alter it if you think it is not.
  6. Keep your stories organized so you can access them easily to use again or add additional information.

Social Story Resources

Here you will find links to a multitude of excellent Social Story Resources.

Some are free and others need to be purchased! If you have any recommendations I would love to hear about them!!


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