Social Stories™ (Gray, 1990) are a great strategy for teaching an individual about a new skill or an experience. They can be used to support individuals in changing their behaviour.

Here are my top 5 tips to think about when writing a Social Story:

1. Check the person’s communication ability
It’s really important to know how much someone understands before you write a story for them.
Does the person understand long sentences? Do they need symbols to help them to understand written information? A speech pathologist can help you with this information.

2. Be positive
Social Stories should be positive! Nobody wants to read a story telling them what not to do!
The idea of a Social Story is to provide the person with a positive strategy to use instead of a negative behaviour.
For example, if I feel angry I can take 5 deep breaths. Rather than – do not hit!

3. Involve the person
Social Stories are most successful when the person themselves is involved in the process. I like to ask the person what colour they want the front cover to be and what photos they would like for the book. It’s also good to check the story over with the person before producing the final version.

4. Include customised and personal information
The best written stories include a balance of information. Don’t forget to introduce who the person is and things they like to do. It should also include perspective sentences about how a person’s actions impact on others. For example, “mum and dad will be really proud of me when I catch the bus on my own”.

5. Support the person to read the story and practice the strategies
Success with Social Stories happens with consistency and support. Have the story available to the person throughout the day and refer to it. Talk about the strategies and reinforce the positive messages.

If would like would like to learn more about Social Stories, contact Scope’s Communication and Inclusion Resource Centre (CIRC) at circ@scopeaust.org.au or 03 9843 2000.