Social stories are short, specifically written stories to help children with autism understand a specific situation, activity or skill.
By describing what happens in a social situation in a concise, accurate and structured manner, that is easily understood by the individual with ASD.
The goal of the social story being to provide the individual with ASD a clear framework of the skill or situation, thus reducing anxieties and stresses, allowing the person with autism to rehearse and practise the skill. The social story also helps the person with autism prepare for a change to routine.
Research suggests that social stories which follow a predefined formula can make a difference in helping an individual with autism understand and improve social and communication skills and behaviours.
A social story should answer the “wh” questions (who, where, why, when and what) using first person text and visual images, showing the individual with autism an acceptable manner of behaviour in a social situation, “without actually having to tell them”.
So do social stories work?
Yes they do, why? By attempting to address the theory of mind, or social skills deficits that all individuals with ASD have.
For many autistic people being able to understand the thoughts and actions of those around them is missing this is due to the theory of mind or social skills deficits. As typically developing beings we are able to “mind read” or predict another persons mood, thoughts, feelings and emotions by simply reading their facial expression, body language and tone of voice or suggestions. With the ASD individual this natural ability is missing.
A social story can help an individual with ASD understand the thoughts and emotions of the people that they may interact with.
By using visual images a social story can be better understood, as generally most autistic people are visual thinkers and learners. The social story is set out in much the same manner as a comic strip conversation, making it easier for the ASD individual to follow.
A social story should be written in first person language and always from the point of view of the autistic individual.
Research shows us that children with autism do respond well to social stories, thus many parents, care givers and teachers use social stories regularly to help improve and encourage positive social and communication skills.
To find out more about social stories and how that can hep your child with ASD visit http://www.autismsocialstories.com
For other specific social stories for your child with ASD visit: