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-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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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:
|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.|
|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.|
|Social Situations||Social interactions can be very stressful for many people, with and without ASD. Make storyboards to show possible situations and outcomes.|
|Adolescent Skills||As kids get older, their interests and needs change. Brooch potentially difficult conversations with a storyboard example.|
|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.|
|Social Stories for Young Children||Young 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.||
Compile a list of social situations that individuals may encounter in various settings, such as school, home, and the community. Consider specific scenarios that individuals with special needs may find challenging or unfamiliar. Examples can include working with a partner in class, answering the telephone at home, or ordering food at a restaurant.
Develop storyboards that depict the sequence of events and appropriate behaviors for each targeted social situation. Use visuals, text, and simple language to convey the desired social skills and responses. Incorporate elements such as facial expressions, body language, and dialogue to enhance understanding.
Introduce the social stories to individuals in a supportive and structured environment. Use the storyboards as teaching tools to explain the expected behaviors and provide guidance on navigating the social situations. Discuss the emotions involved and the potential consequences of different actions.
Engage individuals in role-playing activities where they can practice the social skills depicted in the storyboards. Encourage them to act out different scenarios and demonstrate appropriate behaviors. Provide feedback and reinforcement to reinforce positive social interactions.
Tailor the social stories to the specific needs and preferences of the individuals. Consider their unique challenges, interests, and strengths when creating the storyboards. Involve family members or caregivers to provide insights and input on the individual's social experiences and goals.
Encourage individuals to apply the learned social skills in real-life situations. Provide opportunities for them to practice the behaviors and problem-solving strategies outside of the instructional setting. Offer positive reinforcement and feedback to reinforce the desired social interactions.
In the classroom, social stories can be used to promote positive behavior and social skills by providing students with clear, concise information about how to navigate specific social situations. For example, a social story might describe how to introduce oneself to a new student, how to ask for help from a teacher, or how to participate in a group activity.
By using social stories, teachers can help students better understand social norms and expectations, and provide them with the tools they need to successfully navigate social situations. Social stories can also help students feel more confident and comfortable in social situations, which can in turn lead to improved behavior and academic performance.
There are several best practices and strategies that teachers should follow when implementing social stories in their classroom. These include not just introducing the stories to the students but also incorporating strategies that reinforce the behaviors and evaluate student’s understanding. Some practical ways to do this include: