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Tuesday 21 Nov 2017

Social Stories ™: What are they and how can I use them to support my child?

Social Story Ex

Article by Stephanie Ekis, MS, CCC-SLP
Social Stories, a strategy developed by Carol Gray, can be used to teach social skills to individuals with disabilities. Social stories 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 individual might expect to occur in the situation
  • the actions and reactions that might be expected of him/her, and why

The goal of the story is to increase the individual’s understanding of, make him /her more comfortable in, and possibly suggest some appropriate responses for the situation in question. Social stories can be in paper form or can be programmed onto an AAC device (e.g., Maestro).

Here is an example:

“When we go to the grocery store, there will be a lot of cool things to see. There is one important rule to remember. I have to stay with mom and dad. Leaving them could be dangerous. I might get lost or hurt. Mom and dad get very worried when they can’t see me.”

If your child is pre-literate and needs symbol support, the story might look something like this:
*Example created using Boardmaker Studio.

To help you get started, please download a Social Story titled, “Time for a Change.” This board was submitted to Boardmaker Share by Elise K. Thanks Elise!

Quick tips for using social stories:

  • If you write a social story for an upcoming event (e.g., doctor’s visit), make sure that you read the story everyday for several days to help your child’s understanding of the situation.
  • You can also write social stories to teach more appropriate behavior (e.g., nose picking, personal space, etc.).
  • Make sure that your child’s social stories are always available to them so that they can read them at any time.


For more information about Social Stores, visit The Gray Center.

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