What are Social Stories?
Social stories are a tool used to help explain what to expect and how to behave in a variety of social situations. These stories are often used to help children with autism spectrum disorder understand new social environments, such as going back to school, meeting new friends, or visiting the library.
Social stories consist of pictures, words, or both, and are used to help children understand what will happen in new social scenarios. They can be personalized to each child so that the child is the main character of the story. The personalized story will help prepare the child for any social encounters they may experience and will teach the child what to expect and what social behaviors they can use in each specific social situation.
How do you use Social Stories?
Social stories should be written in first person format with the child as the main character. The story should be read to the child repetitively leading up to a certain social situation. For example, before starting school, a parent can spend the one to two weeks before school starts reading a social story about going back to school with their child every night before bedtime. While reading the story, the parent can stop and ask a question about the story to ensure that the child is comprehending what the story is about. Social stories should concisely explain details about a social scenario while teaching the child how to behave in that scenario.
What are the benefits of using them?
Social stories help prepare children for novel social situations. A story about going back to school can talk about a variety of different back to school topics including, the child’s morning routine at home, their transportation method for getting to school, meeting new teachers and classmates, seeing old friends, learning new things, eating lunch at school, transportation home from school, and after school activities such as homework and a bedtime routine.
These details will help prepare a child for all of the activities that they will encounter throughout their first day of school. Social stories can also be divided into shorter stories. For example, a parent and child can read a social story about meeting new friends and playing with them at recess, and read another social story about academics, including meeting a new teacher, learning new things, and about how to engage in school appropriate coping skills when academic challenges arise in the classroom.