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Friday 15 Dec 2017

Social Stories™ and other visual supports for safety

House Fire

Article by Stephanie Ekis, MS, CCC-SLP

I’ve mentioned Social Stories ™ several times over the past year, but there are some applications to teaching your child important safety precautions. To refresh your memory, Social Stories can be used to teach social skills to individuals with disabilities. Social Stories, developed by Carol Gray, provide accurate information about the situations that may be difficult or confusing.   With social stories, the situation is described in detail and focus is given to a few key points:

  • the important social cues
  • the events and reactions the child might expect to occur in the situation
  • the actions and reactions that might be expected of him/her, and why

 Social Story Topic Ideas

Home Safety Classroom Safety Safety in the Community
  • Electrical outlets
  • Bicycle
  • Wearing a seat belt
  • Fire
  • Kitchen (e.g., hot stove, sharp knives, etc.)
  • Fire drill
  • Leaving the classroom
  • Field trips
  • Riding the school bus
  • If I feel sick
  • Bullying
  • Crossing the street
  • Staying with mom and dad
  • Animals (petting a dog)
  • If I get lost
  • Stranger danger
  • Traffic

What other stories could you add to this list?

Learning activity with visual supports example:

Social Story Example:  Our family has a plan if the smoke detector goes off in the house.  The smoke detector will be very loud, but it is ok.  It is there to keep me safe.  First, if I’m in a room and the door is closed, I should touch the door to make sure it is not hot.  If the door is hot, I should go out another door or window.  If the door is cool, I should slowly open it…

Hint: Add symbols to the story to support understanding.

To learn more about Social Stories ™ visit the Gray Center website at


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