Social Stories for Social Situations

By Natasha Lupiani

Find this Common Core aligned resource and more like it in our Elementary School Category and other Special Education Articles!
For an overview of social stories, please see "Introduction to Social Stories".

The word "social" describes an activity that involves talking or interacting with others. Most people communicate and interact with other people numerous times on any given day. Recognizing social cues and expressions of emotion is not inherent to everyone. Many of us don’t think twice about it, but for an individual with special needs, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or social anxiety, a social situation can be a difficult task.

Humans are a social species and it is impossible to avoid all interactions. Incorporating storyboard examples of social stories prior to events occurring can help ease individuals into the interactions by demonstrating what might happen.

School Home Community
  • Working with a Partner or Group
  • Eating in the Cafeteria
  • Trouble with a Peer
  • Having Guests Over
  • Answering the Telephone
  • Using the Telephone to Call Someone
  • Ordering Food at a Restaurant
  • Going to the Bank
  • Visiting the Doctor or Dentist


School-aged children will spend a large percentage of their waking hours in school, surrounded by their peers. During this time, there will be thousands of social interactions, both good and bad. All of theses interactions can be a learning experience.

Social Stories-Taking Turns
Social Stories-Taking Turns


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Create a Social Story  

Students are nearly in constant contact with other students and teachers at school. The example social storyboard shows two boys playing during recess with one ball. Both boys want to play with the ball. The event can go a variety of ways, by using the storyboard as a teaching tool, the child is taught a way to positively resolve the situation.

Other social situation examples that may occur in school include:

Classroom Recess Cafeteria
  • Working with a Partner
  • Working with a Group
  • Class Discussion
  • Sharing Available Resources
  • Playing on a Team or with Others
  • Trouble with a Peer
  • Waiting in Line
  • Sitting with New People
  • Conversation with Peers


Home is typically a safe zone for individuals, where there are minimal unfamiliar social situations. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be any. Using a storyboard, a teacher or family member can help teach a child what they should do when certain situations occur. When creating social storyboards at school regarding home situations, it is important that the educator is aware of the family’s preferences regarding the situations.

Answering The Door Social Story
Answering The Door Social Story


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Even in the safest and most familiar places, stress can happen due to social interactions. The sample social story demonstrates a potential sequence of events when a child hears a knock on their door at home. Instead of immediately opening the door, she asks who it is and then goes to get an adult.

Other social situations that may occur at home include:

Family Friends Other
  • Sibling Interaction
  • Extended Family Visit
  • Meeting a New Family Friend
  • Play Date
  • Dinner Guest
  • Birthday Party
  • Interacting with Neighbors
  • Using the Telephone
  • Email


Taking individuals with special needs into the community can provide a great experience for them, but is also full of possible social interactions. It is practically impossible to avoid all types of interactions while in public. The potential scenarios are endless, resulting in a multitude of possible social storyboards.

Asking for Help at the Store Social Story
Asking for Help at the Store Social Story


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There are many events, resources, and services that we need in the community. The above storyboard is an example of a social story involving a trip to the grocery store. The individual went to the store for a specific item, red apples, and she could not find any. Instead of getting upset, she asked the store employee and was able to locate and purchase some.

Other social situations that may occur within the community include:

Service Special Event Outing
  • Visiting the Bank
  • Greeting a Store Clerk
  • Dental Appointment
  • Wedding
  • Funeral
  • Graduation
  • Sporting Event or Concert
  • Going to a Museum or Park
  • Ordering Food

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More Social Story Examples

If you are new to social stories, please read our introduction to social stories that covers the basics of social stories and how to make effective ones.

For a closer look, please see all of our social story articles:

Article Description Topics
Daily Living Skills Some individuals require explicit instruction on tasks that many of us take for granted. Make a personalized social story to engage the learner.
  • Hygiene
  • Housework
  • Food Preparation
Transitions and Unexpected Events The unknown is scary for everyone, but unexpected events and transitions can be particularly stressful for individuals with ASD. Help prepare your student or loved one for upcoming changes with a social story.
  • Day-to-Day Transitions
  • Major Transitions
  • Unexpected Events
    • Home
    • School
    • Community
Social Situations Social interactions can be very stressful for many people, with and without ASD. Make storyboards to show possible situations and outcomes.
  • Home
  • School
  • Community
Adolescent Skills As kids get older, their interests and needs change. Brooch potentially difficult conversations with a storyboard example.
  • Peer Pressure
  • Dating
  • Job Interview
Social Stories in the Classroom Social stories are also useful for whole group direct instruction of social and coping skills. Use a storyboard to address issues with both individuals and the class.
  • Coping Skills when Angry or Frustrated
  • Social Cues
  • Class-wide Behaviors
Social Stories for Young ChildrenYoung children often struggle with new concepts or big changes. Create a social story to help prepare even very young children for change or new skills.
  • Creating a Social Story
  • Social Story Examples
  • Social Story Principles

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