Social Stories

E-mail Print PDF



Context - Matthew: Severe Language Disorder with Associated Social Communication Problems - ASD!

My first introduction to Social Stories was through the Department that supports Matthew in his mainstream setting.  In school the use of social stories had been used with success in settings where a child may ordinarily have been excluded due to their lack of social competence.  This could be constant noise making, turn taking etc.

Going to bed and sleeping - or not!

The area for concern we had with Matthew was that he would not settle to sleep.  Up until last Summer that was one thing we could rely on Matthew to do - sleep!  We had a good routine, I would put Matt to bed in his sleeping bag which he loved, and explained that Dad would be up soon; within ten minutes Steve (Dad) would go to his room and read a book, within half an hour he was asleep!  I'm not saying it was like that every night but for the most part all worked well!

So when he began a new routine including shouting, throwing, jumping and generally doing everything he shouldn't we tried all the usual solutions to help him.  We tried leaving him, cajoling him, explaining to him, drawing pictures.... you name it we tried it!  

Most nights it was 11 before he even got into bed and it got to the point where the strain was starting to show in us and in Matthew being so tired. It also affected his sister aged 10 who found it understandably very difficult to get to sleep.

We have an amazing relationship with the Department that support Matt, we feel we can ask them anything and so we did!  How can we help Matt understand he needs to go to bed and go to sleep?  

The answer - lets try a social story.  A story that is read daily at home and reinforced daily at school - the result, all sleep is back to normal!

What is a social Story?

A social story

  • Describes events objectively and simply
  • Focuses on relevant and important information
  • Highlights events, words and gestures that carry the greatest meaning
  • Is aware of literal meanings
  • Writes in the first person perspective in present or future tense
  • Stays on task!

Above all a social story reinforces positive behaviour and reflects the rewards that are available.

Elements of a Social Story

  • Describe what is happening in the situation and why e.g. ‘When a child is sitting on the carpet and wants to ask the teacher something they put their hand up’.
  • Give the children insight into feelings of others in the situation e.g. ‘My teacher will be pleased when I put up my hand because she can hear each child speak without other children interrupting’.
  • Tell the student what is expected of them as a response to the situation (written in first person) e.g.‘When I want to say something to my teacher, I will try to put my hand up when I am sitting on the carpet area’.
  • Supply strategies which the student will use to recall relevant information e.g. ‘I will try to remember to put up my hand by looking at the picture card in front of me’.

Also, this is a really good example found out on the Internet of what I am trying to say!

People like it when I say "hi" to them.
There are many times during the day when I can say "hi" to people.
I can say "hi" to my family when I get up in the morning.
I can say "hi" to my bus driver.
I can say "hi" to my friends and teachers when I get to school.
I can even say "hi" to people I see in the hallway.
I can say "hi" to new people that I meet.
I make people happy when you say "hi" to them.
I will try to say "hi" to the people I see during the day.

Educational Resources


Wednesday, 23 October 2019
Mother and Child

Latest Additions


Next group is on Thursday 12th September 2019



Next meeting Wednesday 25th September 2019

Sgt Nicola Upton - Thames Valley Police

Many thanks to: Roland Callingham Foundation (via Bekonscot Model Village) for their generous support.


Click here
to see this months latest films

Aspergers - Famous People


Thomley Hall

Thomley is a place for people of all abilities and disabilities.
They bring disabled people, their families, carers and friends together with experienced and nurturing staff that understand their needs
Click here for more info