Social Stories or Social Narratives are a common tool used to teach individuals about a large variety of topics. Social stories are a way to present information to individuals in a familiar and easy to understand format. Pairing social stories with other evidence based practices like behavior skills training, positive reinforcement, modeling and NET can be a meaningful approach to therapy.
What are social stories?
These are often made specifically for an individual to discuss a topic that is particularly difficult or challenging or sometimes a topic that is brand new. Creating the social story allows the author to individualize the story to fit the needs of the person. They often cover topics related to specific social skills or social situations. The story aims at teaching the individuals what to do when a certain situation arises.
How can we use them?
Social stories can be used in therapy as a way to introduce a topic and as a visual for what steps to follow in certain social situations. The social narrative is presented to the individual ideally immediately before the social situation typically occurs. Presenting the social story immediately before the social situation increases the likelihood of the learner implementing the skills discussed. Your BCI team may read the social story and then set up opportunities to practice the social situation in direct therapy sessions or they may develop the story and train you on how to implement. If your child is able to read, they can read the social story independently prior to the social situation. After reading the story it may be beneficial to review some simple comprehension questions to ensure your child understood the concept in the story. When practicing the skill your child may still need prompts to engage in the correct behaviors and reinforcement for completing the steps correctly. Your BCI clinician will include this in their programming.
Who should develop a social story for your child?
Your BCI clinician will know the best way to set up a social story for your child. Once they have developed how the story will supplement their programming, they will create the story and our BCI materials department will print and laminate the story for use in sessions. When creating the story there are key elements that must be included in order to be effective. Your BCI clinician will know these components and be able to include them.