Social Stories are not just for younger students; they can be useful for all ages, including teenagers. The teenage years can be complicated, full of adult-type situations mixed with the awkwardness of still being an adolescent. Individuals on the Autism Spectrum really benefit from social stories, but adolescence is tough for everyone. Social stories can be helpful in preparing for a range of situations, including but not limited to:
|Peer Pressure||Dating||Job Interview|
Unfortunately, negative peer pressure is everywhere. Every time they turn around, a teenager is exposed to something that they may not like, want, or that they know is wrong. Adults play a role in mentoring and influencing their young, impressionable minds. Social stories for teenagers are a way to play out a common peer pressure situation in a way students will understand.
Peer pressure is not always negative, but it is the negative peer pressure that young people struggle with on a daily basis. Though there are many different instances of negative peer pressure, drinking is a common one. The example shows an abbreviated way a situation could play out if the teenager says no.
Other common negative peer pressure situations may include:
|Direct Peer Pressure||Indirect Peer Pressure|
With adolescence comes an interest in dating. Teenage dating is a common occurrence, but does not necessarily come naturally. It is important that teenagers understand what dating does and does not involve.
Dating should be fun and mutual. There should never be any expectations on either side. In the example, the boy paid, but the girl offered to pay her part. Neither person should expect the other to pay for the whole date. It is nice if one does, but both people should be prepared to pay their own way.
Some other dating scenarios that can be taught using social stories include:
|Asking/Being Asked Out||On a Date||After a Date|
Once teenagers are around the ages of 15 or 16, when they can legally work in most states, they often become eager to find part-time jobs. Besides teaching students how to complete a job application, it is important that they know how to prepare for a job interview.
A job interview can be a nerve-wracking event, but preparing for it can help alleviate some of that stress and increase their chances of obtaining the job. Preparing for the interview starts with creating a good first impression. Many adolescents don’t realize or care that what they wear and how they act reflects directly upon what other people think of them. Typically we try to teach our students that what other people think doesn't matter, but that isn't the case when it comes to potential employers.
Depending on the needs of your student, you may need to break down the interview process into smaller, more manageable chunks:
|Preparation||At the Interview||Job Offer or Rejection|
Starting a conversation about some of the adolescent-related social situations may be awkward. The social story can act as the conversation starter itself. Teenagers will look at it and it is almost guaranteed that someone will have a comment or question. This allows the students to initially guide the conversation. As the moderator, it will be easy to figure out what they may or may not already know about the topic and take the conversation in the necessary direction. This approach can be helpful in maintaining their interest in the conversation as well.
Adolescence can be a difficult age group to teach social situations to. Storyboarding social stories allows for a fun, yet age-appropriate representation of adolescent scenarios. The ever-growing library of scenes and categories on Storyboard That also allows for a wider range of situations to cover the needs of the users.
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.||
Identify the specific social skills or behaviors that you want to address in your curriculum. Determine the key areas where students may benefit from social stories, such as communication, empathy, conflict resolution, or self-regulation.
Create social stories that target the identified social skills. Develop narratives that are relatable to your students and present the desired behaviors in a clear and positive manner. Use age-appropriate language and include visual elements to enhance understanding.
Identify opportunities within your curriculum where the social stories can be integrated effectively. Look for natural connections between the targeted social skills and the subject matter or activities. Consider both explicit and implicit ways to incorporate the stories.
Introduce the social stories to your students within the designated curriculum context. Provide a brief explanation of the purpose and relevance of the story. Engage students in reading or discussing the story together, allowing for questions and clarifications.
Reinforce the social skills presented in the social stories through various activities and exercises. Provide opportunities for students to practice and apply the targeted behaviors in real-life situations. Offer guidance, feedback, and support during these practice sessions.
Facilitate reflection and evaluation of the effectiveness of the embedded social stories. Encourage students to discuss their experiences, share any challenges or successes, and reflect on their growth in the targeted social skills. Make adjustments to the integration and implementation as needed.
Some relevant issues include learning from mistakes and failures, setting and achieving goals, building self-confidence and motivation, understanding and embracing cultural differences, addressing mental health challenges, managing conflicts and disagreements and building resilience.
They can be modified by incorporating visual aids, simplifying language, or providing additional and individualized support where needed. Scripts or role-playing exercises can also be useful. The social story should be reinforced with regular practice and positive reinforcement of appropriate behaviors. Teachers may also consider collaborating with other professionals, such as school counselors or behavior specialists.
There are several useful strategies for evaluating the effectiveness of social story worksheets in the classroom, such as through direct observation, student self-report, or parent/teacher feedback. Teachers should also establish clear goals and objectives for the social story and track progress over time. Regularly reviewing and revising social stories can also help to ensure that the content continues to meet the needs of the students and are effective in promoting social and emotional learning.