social stories

Child Speech Therapy: Making Social Stories

Last week on the blog, we discussed the benefits of social stories for children with autism and/or language disorders. Social stories, developed by Carol Gray, provide an easy to follow visual for appropriate behavior and conversation during social situations. They can be used for a variety of purposes including transitions, inappropriate behavior, social interactions, and new experiences. 

Shawn Rossi

Shawn Rossi

Writing a social story

The most effective social stories relate to the child’s current routine or situation. Writing your own story allows one to directly target a desired skill. There are a few points to consider when writing a social story:

·     Intent of message: What is the main idea or point of the story? The intent may be for self-regulation, self-esteem, social skills, or productive behavior.  Instead of explaining what a child should not do, create positive messages to encourage appropriate behaviors. For instance, instead of saying “do not hit when upset”,reword to a more positive behavior, such as: “we use our words when we are upset”. 

·     Complexity of language: Using simple, direct language, increases comprehension and implementation of the message. Choose age-appropriate vocabulary that the child understands.  

·     Step-by-step: Social stories are effective because they take the guesswork out of a social situation. Be sure to include each mundane step so children can effectively implement the message without having to make their own inferences.   

·     Sentence types: There are four types of sentences that are used in a social story: descriptive, directive, perspective, and control. All four sentences should be included in the story. Below are examples for each type in regard to a social story about personal space:

o  Descriptive sentences: Explain what people do in a certain social situation from a third person perspective. “It is not polite to stand too close to people. It is polite to respect others’ personal space”. 

o  Directive sentences: Positively elicit a specific response or behavior. “When I talk to other people, I need to step back and give them some space”. 

o  Perspective sentences: Explain another person’s feelings or opinions in a social situation. “My friend feels uncomfortable when I stand too close. She is happy if I give her space”. 

o  The control sentence: Is the message intent of the story. The child constructs the sentence to help them recall the targeted skills. “I remember to keep an arms’ length between my friend and I when we talk”. 

 

How to use social stories?

Create an easy to access plan for the social story. Would it be best to keep on the desk, near the door, or in their folder? Next, determine who will be the facilitators of the social story. For non-readers, a caregiver can read the story out loud, record on a device, or program the story into an assistive device and/or ipad. For readers, the teacher or caregiver may be able to simply reference the story by pointing and bringing attention to it during specific situations. As mentioned in last week’s post, social stories are only one component of therapy. For the story to be successful, the child must practice the desired skill in appropriate situations with the help of parents, caregivers, and/or therapists. As the child practices and uses the skills more often, the story is slowly faded out. Eventually the skill will be engraved in long-term memory, and the visual of the social story is no longer necessary. 

 

Examples of Social Stories

To learn how to make your own template, Autism Speaksoutlines the steps using Microsoft PowerPoint here. Below are some free, pre-made stories to try out! 

·      I Will Not Hit

·     Playing with Friends(from headstartinclusion.org)

·     How to Talk to my Friends(from Watson Institute) 

·     Seat Work(from esc20.net) 

Check out more on ABA Education Resources.  

 

LUMIERE THERAPY TEAM🖐️

 

Resources: 

Cosgrave, Gavin. “Social Stories.” Token Economy - Educate Autismwww.educateautism.com/social-stories.html.

“Social Stories for Autism, ADHD and PDD-NOS.” Epidemic Answers, 17 Apr. 2014, epidemicanswers.org/social-stories-for-autism-adhd-pddnos/.

“Social Stories.” PBIS World RSSwww.pbisworld.com/tier-2/social-stories/.

“Social Stories.” Social Stories : ABA Resources, www.abaresources.com/social-stories/.

Vicker, Beverly. “Indiana University Bloomington.” IIDC - The Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at Indiana University

www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/Behavioral-Issues-and-the-Use-of-Social-Stories.

 

Child Speech Therapy: Social Stories

Temper tantrums during transitions? Hitting during recess? Inappropriate topics during conversation? 

Social stories provide an educational visual to address specific social situations. Verbal explanation of social interactions may be difficult for children to fully comprehend, so visuals can provide additional information.

John Morgan

John Morgan

What are Social Stories?

            Social stories were first introduced and described by Carol Gray as an intervention strategy to teach appropriate social interactions through the elements of a simple story. Social stories outline social concepts and skills in an easy step-by-step manner. They were originally developed for children with autism, but can be beneficial for any child with pragmatic and language disorders.

            Social stories can be a proactive or reactive strategy. Implementing social stories as a proactive measure involves presenting the story before an upcoming social event or situation. If a child is going on a fieldtrip, a social story can outline the new schedule for the day in order to prepare the child for the change in routine. For upcoming play dates, it can give examples on polite ways to share toys. 

            They may also be used for reactive measures, specifically for negative behaviors. For instance, if a child is hitting other kids on the playground, a social story can explain why this behavior is not appropriate while offering new, positive behaviors. They should not be the only source of intervention, especially for negative behaviors. Social stories can provided the child with positive alternatives for negative behaviors in a direct, simple fashion. After the child has been presented with the information, speech-language pathologists, teachers, and/or caregivers can help the child develop the appropriate behavior skills.   

Why do social stories work? 

            Theory of mindis the ability to understand another person’s feelings, perspective, and beliefs. Children with autism often struggle with understanding theory of mind. They can only see their perspective of the story. Consider a child grabbing a toy out of another person’s hand. The child wanted that toy and decided to take it. For a child with autism, that may be the only perspective they understand.   It may be challenging to realize that the classmate was sad when the toy was taken away. 

            Lacking theory of mind creates problems in social situations and can make social society rules seem confusing and difficult. Social stories allow children the opportunity to learn about the other person’s perspective. The stories will outline how the other child feels and why it was hurtful. It takes the guesswork out of social situations and provides strategies or skills to implement in a given situation. 

When should you use social stories?

            Social stories can be implemented in a variety of opportunities. Below are a few examples. 

·     Establish rules and expectations

·     Address negative behaviors

·     Present new social situations (birthday parties, play dates, social groups)

·     Address personal hygiene

·     Address personal space

·     Describe feelings

·     Selecting appropriate social topics

Social stories are intended for specific situations and events in the child’s life. Create or implement social stories that are relevant and meaningful in the child’s everyday activities. 

Next week on the blog, we will discuss how to create a social story. In the meantime, explore these, here.

 

LUMIERE THERAPY TEAM🖐️

 

References:

Cosgrave, Gavin. “Social Stories.” Token Economy - Educate Autismwww.educateautism.com/social-stories.html.

“Social Stories.” PBIS World RSSwww.pbisworld.com/tier-2/social-stories/.

Vicker, Beverly. “Indiana University Bloomington.” IIDC - The Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at Indiana University

www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/Behavioral-Issues-and-the-Use-of-Social-Stories.