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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