What is a social story?


A social story is a tool used primarily in special education and therapeutic settings to help individuals, particularly those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), understand social situations, expectations, routines, and appropriate behaviors. Developed by Carol Gray in the early 1990s, social stories are structured narratives that provide individuals with clear and concrete information about social interactions or events they may encounter. These stories typically include descriptive sentences, pictures, and sometimes simple language to convey the message effectively.

Key features of a social story include:

  1. Objective: Social stories describe a specific social situation or behavior objectively, highlighting relevant details such as who, what, when, and where.
  2. Perspective Taking: Social stories often aim to encourage perspective-taking by helping individuals understand others’ thoughts, feelings, and perspectives in a given situation.
  3. Relevance to the Individual: Social stories are personalized to the individual’s needs, preferences, and experiences to ensure maximum relevance and effectiveness.
  4. Positive Reinforcement: Social stories emphasize positive outcomes and encourage appropriate behaviors through reinforcement and praise.
  5. Visual Support: Many social stories incorporate visual aids such as pictures, drawings, or icons to enhance comprehension and engagement, especially for individuals who are visual learners or have limited verbal skills.
  6. Structured Format: Social stories typically follow a structured format, including an introduction, descriptive sentences, perspective-taking statements, and an affirmative conclusion.
  7. Repetition and Reinforcement: Social stories may be repeated regularly to reinforce learning and encourage generalization of desired behaviors across various contexts.

Social stories are used in various settings, including schools, therapy sessions, and home environments, to address a wide range of social skills and behavioral challenges. They can cover topics such as making friends, sharing, following rules, handling transitions, coping with changes, and managing emotions. Overall, social stories serve as valuable tools for promoting social understanding, communication skills, and appropriate behavior in individuals with ASD and other developmental disorders, helping them navigate social situations with greater confidence and success. Talk with your child’s speech therapist if you are interested in learning how social stories may benefit your child.  During the conversation, your therapist will decide if these stories may be beneficial to implement in his/her life.

Attached is a link to Carol Gray’s page if you would like more information: https://carolgraysocialstories.com/social-stories/

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