Typically children with autism will have social deficits, these are common in autism and will mean that the child may need direct help to teach them social awareness skills and behaviours.
Social stories are short descriptive stories which give information to individuals that struggle to understand social situations. For example social situations such as: asking questions, respecting personal space and making friends.
They are also used to teach social awareness and help with communication difficulties.
So what does a social skills story look like?
- It should be visual, using visual images and short sentences to describe the skill or situation.
- The autism social skills story should provide positive re-enforcement and information
- The autism social skills story can be used to prepare for upcoming changes, or social situations and events
- The autism social skills story should focus on the key points and remove un-necessary language
- The autism social skills story should be written in first person text and always be from the autistic individuals perspective.
- The autism social story should be portable, printable, editable and easy to implement.
All autistic individuals should be able to use social stories to help them cope with skills and situations that they find difficult.
Modifications can be made to make the social story easier for individuals with autism to use, we all use different terminology, and no two individuals with autism will ever be the same.
How do I use social skills stories with my child?
The social skills story can be easily implemented and needs NO formal training to use.
Typically children on the spectrum are visual thinkers, this means that they think in pictures and will generally use speech as their secondary language. The social story uses images or pictures with small pieces of text to describe a situation or skill.
The skill is broken into small easy to understand sections, and appropriate images are used to visually show the skill in a manner that is easier to comprehend. The social story should answer the ever important “wh” questions – who, what, why, when and where as wll as “HOW” and will offer an insight into the thoughts, feelings and emotions of others which is a marked area of weakness in most children with autism.
After careful observations parents and teachers should be able to determine which activities, skills and behavioours the child on the spectrum is struggling with and an appropriate social story can be introduced.
Parents and teachers can implement the social skills story to help the child on the spectrum learn or to re-enforce a skill. The social story will act like a visual framework or plan of the skill or behaviour.
To learn more about social stories and to obtain appropriate downloads visit: