Teaching Children with ASD by Using Social Stories

Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are often perplexed when it comes to picking up social cues. Social stories for kids with ASD help to teach these skills in a simple and direct way that kids better understand. Teachers and moms and dads can write their own or find printable social stories online.

What Are Social Stories?

Social stories are used to teach kids with ASD more appropriate social skills. Kids with ASD don't just pick up social skills, so social stories can provide a great tool in teaching a skill in a direct way. Social stories for kids with ASD help to give kids a better understanding of other people's thoughts, feelings and views. They also help the student to better predict another person's behavior based on their actions. Social stories present various situations in a structured and direct way so that the youngster can understand a situation without having to "read between the lines". Social stories are written from the youngster's perspective. They are simply illustrated using uncluttered drawings or photographs to depict each step of the story.

Possible Subjects for Social Stories and Examples—

Social stories can be written about many different social and behavioral situations that kids encounter in the school or any other environment. Some possible ideas for social stories include "getting in line", "taking turns on the swings", "sitting in the lunch room", "circle time", "taking turns when playing games", "sharing my trucks", or any other situation that causes confusion for a youngster. Here are some great examples of social stories to get you started:

At School

This is a social story I use to help some kids who were having a hard time at group time. It was used with 4, 5, and 6 year olds and worked very well. I wrote it out on yellow paper with a black marker and drew stick figure pictures for a visual.

The story:

It is circle time.
When it is time for circle, I go sit in a blue chair.
I sit with my feet on the floor and my hands to myself.
It doesn't matter who I sit next to. I will shake their hand and say good morning.
I help Mrs. G. at circle by listening...
Waiting my turn...
And sitting like a big kid in my chair.
I don't get angry when I don't get a turn because I will get a turn another day.
When circle is over, I wait until Mrs. G. tells me where to go.
I did great at circle today!

Around Town

This is a story that I wrote for a workshop on Social Stories that I presented for colleagues in my school district. This story could be used with students of any age. The reading level is around first or second grade.

The story:

Some people like to pet dogs.
Petting is fun and relaxing for the person and the dogs really like it, too.
Dogs like it when I pet them on their backs, starting at their head and petting in long strokes down their back.
Some dogs also like it when I scratch them behind their ears or on their stomachs.
I can tell that a dog is enjoying my petting when he starts to wag his tail.
Sometimes dogs start to kick their legs if I find a ticklish spot.

Being Polite

The story:

Mommy talks to a lot of people.
Mommy likes talking to other people.
Sometimes when Mommy is talking to other people I want to talk too.
I can say “Excuse me!” to see if Mommy can talk to me.
Sometimes Mommy will answer me right away.
Other times Mommy is talking about something very important. When she is talking about something important she cannot answer me right away.
If I say “Excuse me” and Mommy doesn’t answer, I can wait until she is done talking.
This will make Mommy very happy.
_______ graders are polite and wait until people are finished talking.
I am going to try to be very polite.


The story:

Sometimes I feel angry.
All people feel angry at one time or another.
When I get angry I will find my teacher, Mommy, Daddy or another adult.
When I find them I will try to use words to tell them that I am angry.
I can say "I'm angry!" or "That makes me mad!"
It is okay to use words when I feel angry.
They will talk to me about what happened and about how I feel.
This might help me to feel better.
Wherever I am I can try to find someone to talk to about how I feel.

Figures of Speech

This is a story that I wrote for a workshop on Social Stories that I presented for colleagues in my school district. In all honesty, I wanted to write this story just because I was thrilled that there was actually a Boardmaker symbol for "Kiss my butt". However, stories like this could certainly be useful for kids who might use language literally, and who might be confused by colloquialisms such as this.

This story would be most appropriate for older elementary students (or whenever their peers might begin uses such a phrase), who are actively involved in conversations with their peers, and have shown some confusion of sayings such as this. The reading level of this story is probably third grade or so, but could easily be adapted to higher or lower reading levels.

The story:

Often, people say things that mean something different that the words might normally mean.
Sometimes, people say, "Kiss my butt," but they certainly don't mean that they really want someone to kiss their butt.
People usually say this when they are frustrated with the person they are talking to or arguing with.
"Kiss my butt" is a rude way of saying, "Be quiet," or "Leave me alone."

The story:

Sometimes I have to go to the bathroom.
Sometimes I have to go pee.
Sometimes I have to have a B.M.
After I have a B.M. I need to wipe myself. This is okay.
I will try to wipe myself until my bottom is clean.
Sometimes I might have to wipe myself 2 or 3 times. This is okay.
When I am done wiping I can flush the toilet.
Then I can wash my hands.

Major Events 

The story (about death):

Everyone and everything that is alive dies at some time.
Death is part of life.
When someone dies, everything inside that person stops.
The heart stops.
The breathing stops.
They cannot feel any hurt.
They cannot feel hot or cold.
When someone dies, they do not have any life insider their body anymore.
Just the body is left...
like a peanut shell without the peanut.
When someone dies people feel sad.
Feeling sad is OK.
People feel sad because the person that died is gone.
When someone dies people cry.
Crying is OK.
Sometimes after you cry you don't feel as sad.
In a few days or weeks you may not feel as sad.
Time helps you feel better.
It's OK to feel better.

Sports and Games

The story:

Basketball is a game you play with a ball that bounces and net that is up high.
I will try to learn how to play basketball.
When I get to the YMCA I can throw basketballs toward the hoop just for fun while I wait for my coach.
There are other kids in my class learning to play basketball too.
My coach’s name is ______________.
Sometimes __________________ may be my coach too.
I will try to listen to my coach when he is talking.
When basketball begins Mommy may have to leave the gym.
This is okay.
Sometimes we stand on a line and practice dribbling the ball.
Dribbling the ball is when I bounce the ball on the ground with my hand.
When it is my turn I can dribble the ball.
I will try to wait my turn in line.
Sometimes we tag each other.
Tag means I touch another person on their shoulder or back to give them a turn.
If someone tags me then I know it is my turn.
When it is my turn I will try to do what the other kids are doing.
Sometimes we pass the ball to each other.
Pass means to bounce or throw the ball to another person.
I will try to pass the ball to other people.
I will also try to catch the ball when other people pass it to me.
I will try to do all of the things the other kids are doing.
Sometimes we have to sit in a circle and just watch our coach.
I will try to stay in my spot in the circle and watch the coach.
This will make my coach happy.
I will try to learn how to play basketball.

Writing a Social Story—

Write social stories in the first person, present tense. The youngster will read or hear the story as if he/she is the one talking. This is easiest for him/her to understand. Simply describe the situation, who is involved, what is happening, where the action is taking place, as well as why the situation has occurred. Give some perspective about the thoughts and feelings of the other people involved in the story. Plainly state what the desired response of the youngster should be in the story. You may use a sentence to summarize the situation at the end of the story to better enable the youngster to understand the desired actions.

Here is an example of a social story for a youngster who doesn't understand that kids don't like when someone stands too close to them when carrying on a conversation:

Sometimes I talk to the other kids in my class.
The other kids don't like when I stand very close to them.
When I stand too closely, it makes my friends feel crowded.
If I stand too close, other kids sometimes get mad at me.
I can back up and stand three feet away from my friends when we talk.
It makes my friends happy when I stand three feet away when we talk.

 ==> AspergersSocialStories.com

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

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