by Lizette Alexander OT Reg. (Ont)

Social Stories were developed by Carol Gray in 1991 to assist individuals within the Autism Spectrum Disorder with their social skills.  These stories model appropriate social interaction by describing a situation explaining other’s perspectives and the appropriate response.

Within my own practice I have found social stories helpful in explaining appropriate social interactions.  It works well because it allows for consistent verbal cues that can be reinforced through repetition.  All children enjoy reading the stories over and over.  Social Stories can be individualized so that it is relevant to each child’s day to day activities with pictures of themselves or their surroundings within the book.  Some examples of themes for social story books include sharing, asking for help, staying calm, waiting, and even self-care activities such as teeth brushing or getting dressed.  The possibilities are endless.

There is a recommended formula to writing a Social Story.  An Occupational Therapist can assist in either writing or editing a social story to maximize its effectiveness.  There are some generic social stories available online that than can be downloaded or even in video format.  Depending on the child a generic version may be sufficient to educate the on social skills or activities.  Other children might benefit from a custom story.

The following are some links that explain social stories in more detail and/or explain how to write a social story:

If you google “Social Story examples” there are some generic social stories that can be found online. Here a few websites to faciliate your search:

Video on “Waiting”:

Video on “Taking turns to speak”:

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