Developing a Social Story
There are several ways in which a social story can be presented to a child who struggles with appropriate social behaviors. Children who are primarily visual learners may benefit most from social stories that include simple illustrations or photographs along with the text. Picture symbols can also be used to highlight certain parts of the text. Some children learn best through listening and are able to read along with a social story that is audio recorded. Those who are not yet proficient readers can practice a social story with an adult by acting it out on video or by using puppets or dolls as characters.
What follows are some examples of specific situations that can be addressed using social stories.
--Helping a student deal with transitions, such as changing classes or going to the cafeteria.
--Introducing new situations, to prepare the student for a situation such as meeting a new person.
--Changes in routines -- school schedules are not always set in stone. There are unexpected programs, such as school assemblies and fire drills. Social stories can demonstrate to the student how to react when there is a sudden or unexpected change in routine.
--Making choices -- if a student has difficulty making decisions, such as selecting food items at lunch, a social story can demonstrate how this can be done efficiently.
--Understanding behaviors -- a social story can explain why individuals act certain ways in different situations in order to help understand particular behaviors.
--Learning appropriate behaviors -- if a student behaves inappropriately, such as participating in self-stimulating behaviors, the behavior can be specifically addressed in a social story.
--Dealing with emotions -- it can be difficult to deal with feelings such as frustration and anger, but a social story can illustrate a specific situation where a student gets angry, yet maintains control of her temper and responds appropriately.
--Describing the thoughts and feelings of others. For example, “the teacher felt sad when the student continued to interrupt her class".