Prepare your child for new or difficult experiences with social stories

Social stories or picture stories are used to prepare children with autism, Asperger’s syndrome or other developmental disorders for new experiences (proactive) or to correct behavioral issues (reactive). Social stories are not just for ASD, children with anxiety or sequencing issues can benefit from them too. Social stories are pictures, often supported with text, that 1) describe a situation, action or event, 2) outline the steps in a process or 3) set parameters of acceptable behavior for children with social, behavioral and language processing disorders. The goal of our stories is to promote self management, build self esteem and / or heighten understanding.

The social stories on this site were all inspired by a child at our clinic and each story has a purpose. And that is important because social stories should be individualized. As such, we provide the Microsoft Powerpoint® versions of the stories, so a parent, therapist or teacher can customize the images or text to fit the needs of the child. Each story is researched to ensure all the important details are in the story. Each of our stories is written with an optimistic tone and we try to provide some flexibility in the steps. For example, in our Preparing for an Airplane Trip, we talk about taking an escalator in the airport, but also inform the child that he or she has choices (an elevator or stairs).

With each social story, we also provide a list of helpful tips. The list helps you think through many of the possible situations can can arise while you are preparing your child for a new experience and provides ways to pave a smooth path for your child. For example, we talk about the texture of sand on a beach and recommend that a parent buy some sand from a local hardware store and let the child feel it and wash it off.

Social stories are just one tool that can be used to change behavior or to prepare a child with autism for a new experience. We have had a lot of success using social stories.

Note social stories may be unsuitable or insufficient for some children.