Social Stories - a Q&A...
By Joanna Taylor, Wellbeing HLTA (Higher Level Teaching Assistant) at Ripplevale School.
Joanna Taylor joined Ripplevale School six years ago as a Learning Support Assistant and started as a Wellbeing HLTA in January 2020. As part of her role as an LSA previously, and as part of Ripplevale's wellbeing activity, Joanna says that social stories are an invaluable resource to help support autistic people.
Q. What are social stories?
A. Social stories were created by Carol Gray in 1991 to help autistic individuals to better understand the nuances of interpersonal communication.
They describe a situation, event or activity. They can also be called social scripts, social narratives or story based interventions.
A social story can be used for a wide range of subjects from going to the dentist, going to school, or explaining about death and divorce. They can help to explain what to expect and the expected behaviour and responses.
Q. Who are social stories useful for?
A. Social stories can be used by parents and schools and are a useful tool for helping autistic children and adults.
Q. What are the benefits of using social stories?
A. Social stories present information in a visual way and in the form of a sequence, which can help with preparing a child or adult for what comes next.
They are most effective when tailored to each individual person and can be used to support the understanding of social situations and how to master certain tasks.
Q. When can they be used? A. You can create a social story for almost any social situation and to help explain a variety of topics. A child going to the dentist can be shown a social story to visually explain the process and procedure of going to the dentist in a way that is easy to follow and predictable.
Q. How do I create a social story?
A. Social stories are written in the first person, for example, ‘when I go to the dentist’ and should include clip art or photographs to support the text. A good social story will only focus on one thing or event to ensure proper understanding.
Q. Where can I find examples of social stories?
A. There are many examples of social stories which are freely available online.
A simple Google search brings up a wide range of social stories covering a variety of situations. Editable versions are also available. For school based staff, Twinkl has a large range of free resources available including social stories.