What is a social story?

Social Stories

What is a social story?  
A social story is a book that is used for a child to learn and rehearse certain desired skills (what TO do).  For some children, you can include talking about non-desired skills (what NOT to do), as well.  That really depends on the child.  Some children imitate everything they see in a social story and some can differentiate what is and is NOT ok to do. 

What's in a social story? 
A social story can be about anything.  There are social stories out there...you don't have to reinvent the wheel. You can find them for free in a variety of places, including Teachers Pay Teachers, Victories in Autism, and eventually HERE at www.ausomeslp.com.  You can also make them.  I'm working to develop a template for this to make it easier.  For some children, having the child's own picture in the book is the best way for them to relate and retain the information.  There are some existing templates discussed here.  You could also try out www.boardmakeronline.com for free to create your own and print them as PDFs.  If you like the service, you can always upgrade to continue.

What is a social video?  
A social video contains video information about a social situation.  These are also already in existence in a variety of places for free (check youtube, but be careful and always watch it yourself first).  www.everydayspeech.com has a subscription that has found to be very effective for lots of children.  I do intend to record and put some videos here.  In fact, I'm about to put my very first one on this post!  You might consider recording your own child doing the "right thing".  Kids seem to love watching themselves on video. 

How do I use a social story? 
Social stories, like calming routines, work best if they are introduced when a child is calm.  If they're overly excited or upset, they can't think clearly.  So you want to read it to them for the first time when they are calm.  Then, eventually you can use it as a tool when they are upset (as part of a calming routine).  We use the story in our video before Lucas goes to school each day.  I made a copy for his teachers to use at school when he is having a difficult moment, or if he is in "time out" for an undesired behavior (like throwing a block, tipping his desk, etc.).  As you'll see in our video, as children get familiar or as they learn to read, they can almost "script" the story to themselves, begin to interact with you, and know what's expected.  You can add words, questions, and interactive content the more and more you read the book.

Materials you may need to make a paper copy
Printer, ink, paper
laminator (not required)
Book Binder.  I like this one.

Personalized Tempates for Social Stories: Templates for Personalized Teaching

Now, please excuse the state of us in our video: this was taken during our state mandated social distancing during cornavirus outbreak of 2020.  Not an ounce of makeup in sight...and by the time we finished, he even took his shirt off and was done with me. Oh, Lucas....

Now that I've recorded the following video of Lucas reading his social story, guess what...I have a social video I can show him when I'm in a pinch.  It doesn't replace our time together, but it's a nice backup! 

Examples of Social Stories


Free Social Stories are in the Freebie Library.  Join the Ausome Speech Club below to get the password.  

1 comment

  1. Very helpful. My 7-yr old just watched it with me and it helped us have a conversation about good choices. THANKS