Social Stories are short descriptions of a particular situation, event, or activity which include specific information about what to expect in a certain situation, and why.
These Social Stories address situations or beliefs that may cause the child to be fearful, anxious, or aggressive. They are also great tools for helping children learn about new events such as going to the doctor, using the potty, or taking the bus to school.
Here are ten tips from Elves’ Speech Department for writing your own personalized Social Story:
- Begin with a title that describes the overall meaning of the story, such as “Going to See the Doctor.”
- Include a beginning, a middle, and an end.
- Explain who, what, and when something is going to happen. Describe the situation in short, clear sentences. Social Stories should be as accurate as possible, and should include words such as “sometimes” for situations where a particular outcome is not guaranteed.
- Write from you child’s perspective, using phrases such as “I go to the doctor,” “I am a big girl,” and “I can use the potty.”
- Write in positive language. Positively state descriptions of responses and behaviours, such as “I have gentle hands,” or “I can use my hands for helping.” If a reference to a negative behaviour is made, it is done from a third person. For example, “It hands hit, our friends can be hurt.”
- Use concrete, easy to understand text. Avoid using words that may cause your child anxiety or distress, or words they likely will not understand.
- Write Social Stories at, or slightly below, the level of the child’s understanding. Use short sentences.
- Use only one to three sentences per page.
- Include visual symbols or pictures to accompany the sentences.
- Use photos of your child and your family, or of your child’s toys, to help personalize the story.