A social story is a frequently used method to teach social skills to kids with Asperger’s (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA). A social story is a non-coercive technique that presents social concepts and rules to kids in the form of a brief story. This method can be used to teach a number of social and behavioral concepts (e.g., making transitions, playing a game, going on a field trip, etc.).
- be commensurate with the child’s ability and comprehension level
- be something the youngster wants to read on his or her own
- be written in response to the youngster’s personal needs
- use less directive terms (e.g., “can” or “could”) rather than more directive terms (e.g., “will” or “must”).
Making sure the story has all four components is especially important for kids who tend to be oppositional (i.e., a youngster who doesn’t decide what to do until parents tells him/her to do something, then he/she does the opposite).
A social story can be paired with pictures and placed on a computer to take advantage of the youngster’s tendency towards visual instruction and interest in computers. Kids with AS and HFA seem to learn best when social stories are used in conjunction with role-playing and used as a social primer (i.e., after reading the social story, the youngster then practices the skill introduced in the story). For example, immediately after reading a story about joining-in an activity with friends, the youngster would practice the skill. Then, after reading the story and practicing the skill, the youngster would be exposed to a social situation where he or she would have an opportunity to perform the skill.Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management