Social Stories

A social story is a story written to describe a situation. It frequently involves the use of written language accompanied by pictures to help convey the message.

They have been found to be an effective tool for children with autism or Asperger’s disorder. Social stories assist children with autism to develop greater social understanding.

Two students playing in the sandbox
  • Explain social situations (e.g. appropriate behaviour in the playground)
  • Teach specific social skills (e.g. anger management)
  • Curriculum (e.g. to teach rules and routines)
  • Communication (e.g. how to greet someone)
  • Independent living skills (e.g. taking care of possessions, hygiene)
  • Teach social judgement (e.g. personal space)
  • Teach about special events (e.g. school excursion behaviour)
  • Teach behaviour monitoring (e.g. answering back)
  1. Picture the goal – Assess what you want the child to achieve.
  2. Gather information – This includes where and when the situation occurs, who is involved, how events are sequenced, what occurs and why.
  3. Tailor the text – A social story is written in positive language with positively stated descriptions of responses and behaviours. It contains illustrations to clarify and enhance the meaning of the text.
  4. Social stories can be changed over time as the student improves the skill, and can be faded out.

Social stories should be written in the affirmative using positive language and instruction

Tips for creating social stories >

Social stories can be produced in both a physical and digital form

Apps for creating social stories >

Chat Books

A chat book is an augmentative form of communication which uses templates that reflect the child’s daily life – at school, at home and within the community.

This resource is for people supporting children who are learning to communicate using aided symbols such as pictographs, graphic symbols and whole written words.

  • To tell a story about the child’s day, including how the situation made them feel
  • For choice making and communication
  • For communication all of the time
  • To develop use and understanding of langauge
  • To access a larger vocabulary
  • To choose messages that suit each situation

Chat books can be in a physical form where the child flips through a range of folders covering specific topics

Templates for chat books >

Chat books can be in an interactive electronic form using iPad and iPhone apps such as Proloquo2go

Find out more about Proloquo2go >