Social Stories

Social Stories aren't for every child on your caseload. I've seen Social Stories work, and I've seen them be not so successful. It's my belief that any time you can give a child a visual, the better it will help get the point across to him.

What a Social Story is:

~ Short. If it is too long, the point you're trying to get across will be lost. The most effective Social Stories I've seen/made are the ones that are no longer than 1 page long and no more than 6 sentences.
~ Positive. Our students hear don't and no enough, so it's better to keep the story as positive as you can.
~ Visual-based. I think that may be a new word I just made up, but I'm going with it! Basically, you have a sentence with pictures portraying the key words above those key words. Even with readers, the pictures provide images that hopefully will stay with the child.

What a Social Story isn't:

~Wordy. Social Stories are mainly used for children with language impairments. It would make sense that the less words there are, the better.
~Negative. This, to me, is probably the most trouble I have when writing a Social Story. It seems I always want to put it the words not and/or never. It takes some thinking to rephrase the sentence so that it reflects what I want the child to do.
~Procedures. Social Stories aren't a list of procedures and pictures portraying each step. A child may need a Social Story if they are having trouble following the procedure.

How to Write a Social Story:

1. Identify the problem behavior.
2. State what behavior you want to see. (For example: staying in his seat)
3. Think about what the child does, or what may be keeping the child from accomplishing the wanted behavior.
4. Write how you want the child to accomplish the behavior.
5. End the story reiterating the wanted behavior.

Of course, the easiest way to write a Social Story is to find one that has already been written. There are times when I find one that is close, but needs to be modified. There are other times when it's faster to just write one that is pertinent to a student's situation.
Here is an example of a Social Story from Linguisystems:

Here is a Social Story I wrote for some students who tend to rush through their tests:
Unfortunately, I can't share the page since I don't have the full rights to Smarty Symbols, but you can get the idea from the picture.

What is your preferred system for writing Social Stories?

1 comment:

  1. Carol Gray's website has some great information on the types of sentences needed and their proportions for social stories. Actual social stories are very prescribed. I've heard of stories that don't follow Carol Gray's formula referred to as "cognitive behavioral scripts."


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