Social Stories for Autism & Learning Difficulties

BEHAVIOURAL CHALLENGES

Chewing

Picking my nose

Screaming

BODY

Being naked/private parts

Masturbation (boys)

Puberty (boys)

What are private parts?

BOUNDARIES

Hugging

Hugs

Keeping my clothes on (boys)

Keeping my clothes on (girls)

My friend has a cast

Personal space

Sex talk in public

Touching other people

Who can I kiss?

CELEBRATIONS

Seeing Santa

Carving a pumpkin

Trick-or-treating

Visiting The Easter Bunny

Going to see Santa

COMMUNICATION

Understanding Wh… questions

EMOTIONAL REGULATION

Calming corner

Coping with loud noises

Coping with angry feelings

Deep breathing

How to calm my body

Sometimes I feel angry 

Take a break

Wearing headphones

FOOD

Trying new foods

Eating at the table

I should only eat food

HEALTH

Charley Horse (leg cramp)

I feel sick

Telling an adult about pain

HOBBIES

Piano Recital

Playing Hide & Seek

MEDICAL CONDITIONS

I am hyperlexic

Stimming

My sister is autistic

My brother is autistic

I am autistic

OUTDOORS

Using public toilets (boys)

SAFETY

Bad weather

Bush fire

Earthquake

Crossing the street

Good touch/bad touch

It’s not OK to hurt me

Stranger danger

What is a hurricane

Wildfire

SCHOOL/NURSERY

Fire drill

Getting school pictures taken

Going to a kindergarten

Going to school

Preschool to elementary school

Separation anxiety

Small group work

Spring break

Taking a break

Tornado drill

Wearing shoes at school

SELF-CARE

Brushing my teeth

Choosing what to wear

Dress for winter

Everyday hygiene

Falling asleep

Foot care

Getting a haircut 

Getting dressed

Handwashing

Hair care

Losing a tooth

Taking a bath

Taking a shower

Wearing glasses

Understanding Social Stories for
Autism and Learning Difficulties

Social stories are powerful tools designed to provide guidance, support, and structure for individuals facing challenges related to learning difficulties and autism. Developed by Carol Gray, these narrative-based interventions offer a structured way to communicate information and foster understanding in a clear and accessible manner.

What Are Social Stories? Social stories are short, personalised narratives that use descriptive text and visuals to explain social situations, behaviours, and concepts. Tailored to the needs and comprehension levels of individuals on the autism spectrum or with learning difficulties, these stories aim to enhance understanding, reduce anxiety, and promote positive behaviour.

How Do They Work? Social stories break down complex situations into smaller, manageable steps, making them easier to grasp. They outline appropriate behaviours, responses, and expectations in various scenarios, ranging from daily routines to social interactions. By offering a clear framework for understanding what to expect, these stories empower individuals to navigate situations with greater confidence.

Benefits for Learning Difficulties and Autism:

  • Enhanced Communication: Social stories help individuals with autism and learning difficulties grasp abstract concepts and social cues, improving their communication skills and interactions.
  • Reduced Anxiety: By detailing what to anticipate in different situations, social stories help alleviate anxiety often experienced by those with these conditions.
  • Improved Behaviour: Social stories provide a roadmap for appropriate behaviours, empowering individuals to respond positively to various situations.
  • Building Independence: Individuals can learn to make informed decisions and act independently by understanding the world around them through social stories.

Creating Effective Social Stories:

  • Personalisation: Tailor each story to the individual’s preferences, abilities, and needs for maximum impact.
  • Visual Aids: Incorporate images or symbols alongside text to reinforce understanding and engagement.
  • Positive Focus: Highlight positive outcomes and behaviours, promoting a constructive approach to challenges.
  • Consistency: Consistently review and revisit social stories to reinforce learning and encourage retention.

Utilising Social Stories:

  • Home: Social stories can be integrated into daily routines at home, promoting smoother transitions and behaviours.
  • School: In educational settings, these stories help individuals adapt to classroom routines and social interactions.
  • Community: Social stories prepare individuals for outings, events, and public spaces, enhancing their comfort and participation.

Incorporating social stories into the lives of individuals with learning difficulties and autism can lead to increased understanding, improved behaviour, and greater overall well-being. By breaking down complex situations into relatable narratives, these tools provide a bridge to a more connected and confident life.