Social Stories And Autism

What are Social Stories?

Social Stories are brief descriptions of a particular situation, event or activity that helps social stories -147292_640your child with autism to know what to expect in that particular situation and the reason why it happened. It will help him to understand its cause and effect thus improving the way he communicates and interacts with people around him.

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You can make your own social stories or buy a book or DVD’s of your choice to help your child develop an understanding of what to expect in certain situations.

There are four types of Social Stories and these are the following:

A. Descriptive Social Story

This is a type of social story that is objective, truthful and states a fact. It tells briefly what the situation is, where the situation occurs, who is involved, how and why things are happening.

My son, John learned a lot from this type of a social story because he was able to tell me what I was trying to ask him and predict what will happen next.

As an example, I asked him by pointing to myself,  I am your mom. I always take care of you, dress you up and feed you (  show pictures or use gestures to illustrate). You need to listen ( point to the ear or show a picture) whenever I am calling your name ( point to him or his picture) because I am your mom (point to self).

As you could notice, I underlined the keywords that my son needs to know for him to predict what I am trying to say. You could change the underlined words with a blank space as your child progress in his learning.

B. Perspective Social Story

This is a type of social story that tells what someone is thinking or feeling. It can include opinions, beliefs, health, motivation, feelings, and thoughts. It used to refer to other people and not the child with ASD.

I utilized people’s emotions when I taught this to John.  

As an example, I told him that if he will not _________ ( point to ear), I, his mom won’t be ___________ (point to sad face) and if he will__________(pointing to ear again),  I, his mom will be_______(point to happy face).

A social story about what his teacher does in school.

Your _________(show a picture of a teacher) is the one_________( show a picture of books and class ) you  (point to him)  in ________ (show picture of school). You need to _________( point to ear) to her or she might get_________( point to angry face).

As you could notice, I utilized a blank space to let John think of what to say in response to my question. Partial sentences encourage a person with ASD to make guesses regarding the next step in a situation, the response of another individual or his own response. You could use this in all types of social stories.

C. Affirmative Social Story

This is a type of social story that expresses a commonly shared value or opinion. Usually follows a descriptive, perspective or directive sentence. You can tell stories all about following rules that are applicable both at home and at school.

I made a social story on taking turns in the playground to John.

As an example, I told him that if he is in the _________(show picture of playground) and would like to play on the __________(show picture of slide or swing), he needs to _________( show a picture of a child waiting for his turn or a stop sign  by using your hand). This emphasizes the importance of taking turns which are the safe thing to do according to playground rules.

D. Control Social Story

This is a type of social story which is written or created by the child himself.  This is used to identify strategies the child will use to recall information.

This is the story that I utilized to ask John to tell me a particular thing that will remind him that it’s time to go to sleep ( hand gesture of sleep or point to bed)  and a thing that will remind him to eat his dinner (hand gesture of eating or point to dinner table). 

He showed me his toy teddy bear as a sign that he wants to sleep and pointed to his tummy as a sign that he is hungry.


In summary,  Social Stories are processes and products that improve social understanding of children with autistic spectrum disorders and those who work on their behalf (parents and teachers).

As a process, authors must consider information and events through the eyes of the person with ASD.

As a product, a Social story is defined by specific characteristics that transcribe social information into text, pictures, and titles that are significant for children with ASD.

Social stories help my son to understand the cause and effect of a particular situation, event or activity. It helps him improve the way he communicates and interacts with the people around him.

I sincerely hope these insights have helped in some way, and welcome your questions should there be any.

Adel 🙂

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15 thoughts on “Social Stories And Autism

  1. Hi, I used to work with autistic children as a speech therapist. Social stories were very helpful tools not only to develop social skills in these children, but also to improve their language skills (these skills are interrelated). For some of these children social stories did real miracles. I hope they do the same for your son. Thank you for everything you do and wish you all the best!

    1. Social stories truly did great wonders to my son because he was able to understand the cause and effect of things and also was able to develop his communication skills. It’s good to know that you find it as a useful tool for teaching language and communication skills to autistic children.

  2. I like to use social stories in class with all students. Many students, not just autistic children do not have great social skills. Let’s be honest, adults probably do not either.

    Grant it, my social stories are a little more elaborate with general education children but this is a great strategy to use.

    1. It’s nice to know that you also use social stories to teach social skills to your students in class. All the best to you and your students!

  3. Thank you for explaining all the different Social Stories for children that have Autism.
    It’s great to know there are caring people like you to help us out with informative information like this.
    Kind regards,

    1. You’re welcome, Jeff. Sharing my knowledge on the importance of social stories for children with autism is part of my advocacy.

  4. Hello Adel. Wow! I had no idea that this was even necessary for people with ASD. Thank you for sharing this info with not only me, but the world! Everyone needs to know what they should do and how they can help.

    Thanks again, I’m very impressed.

    1. Thank you, Liz. Yes, every one of us has his own story to tell and social stories are a great way we could teach a child with autism on how to socially interact with this world. It sends a message of hope to them. They want to reach out but they don’t have the ability to do so. They are trapped in their own world. The best thing to do is to encourage them to interact. This could be done by telling them a story made out of pictures, illustrations, and texts. You could also use hand gestures by pointing to objects of discussion.

  5. What a great article and one that I think many parents can benefit from. When teaching an autistic child, from anywhere on the spectrum, you have to be over peak into their world and see it the way they do. The social stories you talk about here gives a voice to children who may not otherwise have one.

    A very good post. I look forward to reading more from you.

    1. Thank you, Missa. Social Stories are a great way of reaching out to children with autism. They teach them to socially interact through pictures or illustrations accompanied by text. I think as moms, it has become a second nature to us to know what our child needs are. We can look through their eyes and know how they feel and view things differently compared to us. It is up to us, their parents on how we can help them feel and understand the world around them.

  6. As someone who does not know or interact with people who have ASD. I had not known about social stories and how they help those with autism. Very good post. This kind of information is good to know in case I have a child with ASD or need to interact with some with autism in the future.

    1. Thank you,Jaron. This is the reason why I created this site, to instill public awareness and understanding about autism and to help parents like me to cope with the everyday struggles they have in taking care of their child. Social stories are a good way of helping their child to communicate and socially interact through the help of images and prompts. Hope that you would help me share this information with parents who need more information on how to help their child. All the best in all that you do.

  7. Your post about social stories and autism is great. There are more and more children touched by this misunderstood illness. It is very difficult for children and their families and the social pressure doesn’t help. Your site responds to an increasing demand. Improving social understanding of autistic children through social stories is a great method. Thank you for sharing your expertise with us.

    1. It’s good that you find my post helpful, Diana. Social stories create wonders to every child with autism. It did wonders to my son. I want to share this knowledge with all parents, who are finding it hard to cope to teach their child with autism on how to communicate and socially interact. Hope that this article could reach them.

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