Social Stories for Children

Social Stories

What is a social story? A social story tells about a social experience a child may encounter whether it be at home, school, the playground; anywhere at all. They are learning tools for teachers, therapists and parents to utilize when teaching children about a social situation and helping to provide guidance for when they encounter the situation. They often depict a lesson, a skill, or a particular concept that children are likely to encounter. They are written in short sentences in a sequential order with pictures so they are easy for a child to understand and to learn from. Reading a social story to your child may help them to understand what to do if they encounter a similar social situation and may decrease their fear or anxiety.  It is recommended to read the story with the child on more than one occasion to help them learn, cope, and understand appropriate social skills.  For instance, if there is a particular event you are using a social story for, it would be recommended to read the story with the child several times on different occasions leading up to the situation in order for the child to handle the situation more positively.

There is a format to follow when writing a social story. The first step is to determine the topic for which the social story is going to be written about. From there the author must gather information on the topic, create a social story following the proper format, and then provide images that go along with the social story.

When writing a social story, it is important to include the 5 W’s of who, what, when, where and why. There are two main types of sentences used in a social story, a descriptive sentence and a directive sentence. Descriptive sentences describe thoughts or feelings, express opinions, or include what others can do to help in a situation. Directive sentences identify possible responses to the social situation or direct behavior to the proper response in a social situation. A good rule of thumb for these stories is to include at least 2 descriptive sentences to each directive sentence. After the social story is written, include pictures to go along with the lesson or concept of the story and there you have it!

Therapists at ABC are here to help children with transitions in a variety of ways, including the use of social stories.

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