Mar 10, 2020
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Step by step instructions on how to write a social story

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Step by step instructions on how to write a social story

Social stories have proven successful when working with a person on social skill development. Social stories have helped many people develop behaviors that are more appropriate to given settings. Social stories may also help a person understand why certain behaviors are necessary in different situations. But what exactly is a social story and how can it be used in a way that will be helpful and supportive? This is a step-by-step guideline on how to develop a social story.

DETERMINE THE BEHAVIOR YOU WANT TO CHANGE OR DEVELOP

First it is necessary to prioritize what behaviors you are seeking to change or develop. Select one behavior at a time. For example, if the person has difficulty walking into the library quietly, target this particular activity. Write the story in the first person “When I walk through the door of the library I need to be quiet!” For some people, it is also helpful to include drawings or photographs of the event. Try to include the person you are writing the social story for by having them participate in the development of the social story. This involvement encourages “buy in” and a better understanding of the expectations.

DESCRIBE THE SITUATION AND THE DESIRED BEHAVIOR

Explain the situation that presents a difficulty. “On Tuesdays, my class goes to the library.”

Include a description of the child’s behavior along with a description of the desired behavior. “When we walk into the library the room is very quiet. I feel a little nervous because we have left the classroom where I feel safe. I also am excited when we go to the library. Sometimes I yell. When I yell, I like the sound my voice makes and I feel good. It is okay to get excited, but is not okay to yell in the library.”

Continue by explaining why this behavior is unacceptable and by describing the desired behavior. “When I yell it bothers other people in the library. It makes it hard for them to work. Even though I like to yell in the library, I need to be quiet because the library is a quiet place. It is not the place to yell.”

End the story with a description of the acceptable behavior. “When I walk into the library I will not yell or make any other loud noise. I will walk quietly through the door, smile at the librarian, and sit down quietly on the carpet and wait for directions. When I walk into the library quietly it makes my class and teacher happy. I can yell when I’m on the playground.”

EXAMPLE OF A SOCIAL STORY: GOING TO THE LIBRARY

“When I walk through the door of the library I need to be quiet! On Tuesdays my class goes to the library. When we walk into the library the room is very quiet. I feel a little nervous because we have left the classroom where I feel safe. I also get excited when we go to the library. Sometimes I yell. When I yell, I like the sound my voice makes and I feel good. It is okay to get excited, but is not okay to yell in the library. When I yell it bothers other the other people in the library. It makes it hard for them to work. Even though I like to yell in the library I need to be quiet because the library is a quiet place. It is not the place to yell. When I walk into the library I will not yell or make any other loud noise. I will walk quietly through the door, smile at the librarian, and sit down quietly on the carpet and wait for directions. When I walk into the library I will try to be quiet because it makes my class and teacher happy. I can yell when I’m on the playground.”

SUMMARY OF HOW TO WRITE A SOCIAL STORY

– determine the behavior you want to change or develop

– select one behavior at a time

– write the story in the first person

if possible, include  drawings or photographs of the social event

– have the person participate in the development of the social story

– describe the situation that presents difficulty

– explain why a behavior is unacceptable by describing the desired behavior

– end the social story with a description of the acceptable behavior

 

Social stories or visual scripts are stories that describe with words and pictures different activities or events that happen in life in a step by step detailed way. The social stories or visual scripts listed are mostly in PDF format (unless otherwise noted). 

 

DAILY EVENTS

What I Can Do When I am Hungry

What I Can Do When I am Tired

What I Can Do When I See Friends

What I Can Do When I Need a Break

If You Don’t Know the Answer to a Question

Asking for Help

Social Cue Cards

BEDTIME

Bedtime

Bedtime Routine 1

Bedtime Routine 2

PERSONAL CARE

Brushing My Teeth

How to Brush My Teeth

Washing My Hands

Washing Hands Routine

Washing Your Hands

Using Deoderant

Menstruation page 1 page 2

Picking My Fingers

Cleanliness

Getting Dressed and Ready for School

Using the Toilet

Using a Boy’s or Men’s Public Washroom/Toilet

Toilet Routine

Potty Story

My Going Potty Story

Personal Care Schedule

Grooming for Girls

Going to the Hairdresser (social skills book)

Taking a Shower

Getting Rid of Head Lice and Nits

AROUND THE HOUSE

Having Visitors Over

Answering the Phone

Cleaning the Bathroom

Replacing Toilet Tissue

Cleaning the Bedroom

Keeping My Room Tidy (webpage)

Cleaning Laundry

Cleaning the Kitchen

Washing Dishes

Drying Dishes

Cleaning the Living Room

Let’s Go Grocery Shopping (powerpoint)

Doors are for Going In or Going Out

SCHOOL

School Spring Break

The Last Day of School

Back to School

Making New Friends

A New Classroom

Being Bullied

Eating in the School Lunchroom or Cafeteria

Raising Your Hand

Personal Space on the School Bus

Learning to Use the Bus

Ride the Bus

Toys in the Classroom

Summer Vacation

SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

At the Swimming Pool

Going to the Video Store

Going to the Movie Theatre

Going to the Cinema (social skills book)

Going Bowling

Going Swimming

At the Swimming Pool

Going Swimming (social skills book)

Going Horseback Riding

Shopping at a Store

Shopping for Clothing

Going to Buy Clothes (social skills book)

Going to Buy Shoes (social skills book)

Shopping at a Pharmacy/Chemist/Drugstore

Storybook for the Grocery Store (photos)

Going to a Supermarket (social skills book)

Where to Shop

Ordering at McDonald’s

Going to a Restaurant (social skills book)

EMOTIONS AND FEELINGS

Feeling FaceBook

Feeling Happy

Feeling Sad

Feeling Sick/Ill

When You Are Feeling Upset – How to Calm Down

Calming Down Process

Steps to Calm Down

When Can I Scream?

Being Angry

INAPPROPRIATE MEANS OF SOCIAL COMMUNICATION

Not Using Inappropriate Words

Not Using Hands and Fingers Appropriately

Inappropriate Social Kiss

When Touching Is Bad

Arguing

Not Saying Swear Words

MANNERS

Table Manners

If You … Then You Are Grounded

TRANSPORTATION

I am Going to Ride in an Airplane!

Before You Go to the Airport Family Travel Tips

Going on a Plane (social skills book)

Taking the Public Bus

MEDICAL, DENTAL AND OPTICIAN

Going to the Doctor

Going to the Doctor (social skills book)

Going to the Dentist (photos)

Going to the Dentist

Going to the Dentist (social skills book)

Going to the Optician (social skills book)

Visiting the Hospital

Visiting the Hospital script

Preparing for Surgery

The Day I Had My Surgery 

 

HOLIDAYS AND CELEBRATIONS

Thanksgiving

My Birthday Party

Going to a Birthday Party 

Easter Egg Preparation

Mother’s Day

Making and Giving Cards

Christmas Holidays

Friendship Day

SAFETY

When the Power Goes Out

Fireworks

Crossing the Street

Bike Safety

Bike Safety Story

Why Do I Have to Wear a Seatbelt?

Family Fire Exit Plan

 

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