How to Create a Social Story

by | Apr 11, 2021 | Blog, Parenting, School, Social Skills

Where to use a social story

As therapists we love creating social stories together with our clients. We see the benefit of social stories in helping reduce anxiety, worry, and frustration in our clients and we would love to see parents using them at home too! Social stories are not just limited to clinical settings! They can be used successfully in the classroom, at home and in the community. The key is to present the social story to your child during a calm time. The moment of transition or while they are already frustrated is not the time to bring out the social story. The social story should be provided in advance to help prepare your child and prevent frustration, not be used in response as a crisis intervention. 

When to create a social story

Writing a social story for your child can increase their understanding of social rules and cues, reduce deficits in social interactions, and help them with perspective taking. It can help your child learn skills that need to be taught in preparation for an upcoming event or transition. Providing them with a social story can also help ease them through difficult times such as family changes, divorce, or moves. 

How to create a social story

  1. Decide on custom or premade:

You can find many premade social stories online for various circumstances like traveling, school, potty training, and many more. If those are a fit for your child, use them! 

Check out the following sites for premade stories:

You can also customize a story to meet your child’s needs and level of understanding. The language within the story should of course match the ability level of your child. 

  1. Select visuals:

You can use words alone, but we highly recommend adding pictures as so many children are visual learners or at least benefit from visual support. You can take photos of the situation you are writing about, or if possible, pull pictures from google. To lay out the images next to your text we usually use google docs, microsoft word publisher, or powerpoint. If you’re artistically inclined, you can draw! 

  1. Write your story:

Write in the perspective of your child so they can read about themselves. For example, “My name is Susan. I am starting 1st grade on Monday”. Focus on what you want your child to do, rather than what NOT to do. Also include what your child might be thinking or feeling during the situation you are writing about. A good guideline is to use one directive for every 2-5 descriptive and or perspective statements. 

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