Social Stories and the use of these with children with ASD

Why use Social Stories?
Many people with autism have an impairment of social understanding, the ability to think in ways necessary for appropriate social interaction. This means that many people with autism may not act appropriately in social situations. People with autism do not understand that others might have a different opinion to them, or that others may want to do something different to what they want to do. From their perspective, the statements and actions of others may at times seem to occur without meaning or identifiable purpose, occurring randomly and without warning or logic

Many people with autism do not understand that other people have their own
o thoughts
o feelings
o plans and
o points of view

Therefore they might think …“ if I am angry and want to hit you, you must be angry and want to hit me too” ….this is frightening
Social situations become unpredictable and confusing. This can lead to social isolation, exclusion and lack of opportunities. This lack of social understanding in autism is regardless of where an individual falls within the spectrum of autistic disorders

How do Social Stories help?
  • Social stories attempts to address the ‘theory of mind’ impairment by giving individuals some perspective on the thoughts, emotions and behaviours of others
  • Developed by Carol Grey (1994) for use with children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), but are also used successfully with adults with autism and related disabilities
  • Provides a distance between ‘teaching’ and the social situation

  • What is a Social Story
  • A short story is written in a specific style and format
  • They describe what happens in a specific social situation and presents information in a structured and consistent manner
  • They give social information through pictures and text as opposed to speech or observation (notable areas of weakness)
  • Each story provides clear, concise and accurate information about what is happening in specific social situation
  • It describes what is obvious to most of us, but not to those with impaired social understanding
  • The story describes what people do, why they do it and what the common responses are.

  • The purpose of Social Stories
  • To provide a prompt for socially appropriate behaviour
  • To help a person become familiar to a situation, and to respond appropriately
  • To help prepare for a new experience
  • To provide positive feedback so that people can recognise their own appropriate behavior
  • To help prevent extreme reactions that stem from a lack of social understanding

  • The goal of Social Stories
    Is to increase the individuals understanding of a situation, make him more comfortable in, and possibly suggest some appropriate responses for the situation in question

    Other ways Social Stories help
  • Social Stories provide a script for staff to read
  • Information is consistent
  • Provide reassurance
  • Staff are clear what to do

  • Examples of Social Stories
  • Why eating something other than cheese is important
  • What is a friend
  • How to speak to a friend
  • New Home
  • Attending a day service
  • How to greet someone
  • How to make toast
  • Visit to the dentist/hospital/opticians etc.,

  • Layout of Social Stories
  • Picture (if used) on left
  • One picture per sentence
  • Text right
  • Black writing on white paper
  • Use simple language
  • Address the person by name (not ‘I’ or ‘you’)
  • One aspect or step per section or page

  • Structure of Social Stories
    Basic social stories use specific kinds of sentences:
  • Descriptive - give accurate information about the setting. They provide, in words, the basic facts about what can be seen
  • Perspective - provide simple information about why things happen, letting the person into the heart and heads of those featured in the story
  • Directive - prompt the appropriate behaviour (common responses) and what behaviour is expected)
  • Affirmative - enhance the meaning of the previous sentence and can be used to emphasise the importance of the message or to provide reassurance to the person
  • Co-operative – what other people will do to help

  • Structure of Social Stories
  • Beginning – What people do
  • Middle – Why they do it
  • End – Common responses – what behaviour is expected

  • Presentation of Social Stories
  • First time distraction free
  • Sit slightly behind and to one side of the person
  • Read to the person showing the pictures
  • Use frequently prior to time of difficulty
  • Person shares story with a range of adults

  • Example Social Story
    What are unexpected noises?
    There are many noises (descriptive).
    Sometimes noises surprise me (descriptive).
    They are unexpected (descriptive).
    Some unexpected noises are; telephones, doorbells, barking dogs, breaking glass, vacuum cleaners, slamming doors, honking horns, and thunder (descriptive).
    These sounds are ok (affirmative).
    I will try to stay calm when I hear unexpected noises (directive).
    Adults can tell me when the noise will stop (co-operative).

    Social Stories