Social stories


Social storiesTM are a great way to introduce a new situation, outline how and why people may react in different situations and explain why people may be feeling a certain way.

Social storiesTM are a short description of a particular situation, event or activity that include specific information about what to expect and why.

Developed by Carol Gray in 1991, primarily for people with autism, social storiesTM present information in a literal, concrete manner, making it easier to process. Social stories can outline the sequence of events, create a structure and routine and help a person prepare themselves on what to expect. The stories can explore the emotions and possible outcomes of a situation.

The terms 'social story' and 'social stories' are trademarks originated and owned by Carol Gray.

How to write a social storyTM

Carol Gray identifies the importance of

picturing the goal – what is the purpose of the story and what is it the person needs to understand to achieve the goal

gathering information – where does the situation occur, who is involved, how does it start and finish, how long does it last, what happens and why? Find ways of appealing to the interests and motivations of the person they are written for. Gather information about the person who will be reading the story – their age, interest, attention span, level of understanding etc.

tailoring the text – social stories should have a title, an introduction, a body and a conclusion. The language should be patient and supportive. The text should cover where, when, who, what, how and why? Descriptive sentences accurately describe the context – where, who etc, while coaching sentences guide behaviour.

Social StoryTM resources

Sailing social story example

Sailing social story easy read example

Further Reading

The National Autistic Society – Social Stories and Comic Strips

Educate Autism – Why Social Stories work?

The Effectiveness of Social Stories

Next - signs, badges and information boards can help participants find their way around

Signs badges and information

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