Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

Social Stories are a Terrific Tool!

02/04/2016 | Published by: Loretta Castro

A social story is a great way to break down a task or social situation into small steps for children. Pictures can play a vital role in helping children better understand many situations. Social stories help with difficult situations or tasks our children face on a daily basis.

Regardless of diagnosis, social stories may help your child. They are often used with children who have an autism spectrum disorder, learning disability, Down syndrome, and more.

Social stories are often written to help a child understand points of view, rules, routines, situations, upcoming events, or abstract concepts, or to understand certain expectations. A social story is usually written for a specific person and situation. They can be written to explain a wide variety of situations.

You can write your own social story for your child or you can print one that you find online (there may be a cost for some of the stories). Whatever the situation, you can use a social story to help your child understand something. If your child can read, have them read the story with you. Use pictures to illustrate the ideas in the story. If your child cannot read, you can read the story to them. It can be helpful to read the story together several times.

There are seven sentence types that may be used in a social story:

  • Descriptive sentences are sentences that identify the most relevant factors in a social situation.
  • Perspective sentences describe what someone knows, including their thoughts, feelings, beliefs, opinions and more. 
  • Directive sentences present or suggest a response or choice of responses to a situation or idea.   
  • Affirmative sentences enhance the meaning of statements and may express a commonly shared value or opinion. They can also stress important points or refer to a law or rule.
  • Control sentences identify ways your child can recall and apply information. They are written after reviewing the social story.
  • Cooperative sentences describe what others will do to assist your child.
  • Partial sentences encourage your child  to make guesses regarding the next step in a situation or possible responses.

PBIS World has quite a few examples of these sentence types. 

There are many other websites with helpful information about social stories, too. One Place for Special Needs offers many resources on social stories in their Complete Guide to Social StoriesSocial Skills Stories for Teenagers with Autism offers printable stories that you may find helpful. Free Pictures for Social Stories is an article that lists where you can find free pictures and symbols you can use in your social stories.

There are other articles on this webpage that have information on social stories: Navigating Daily Life – Major Life Events and  Navigating Daily Life – Parenting Children with Disabilities.  You can find other helpful resources on our Find Services, Groups and Events page, too.

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