Social Stories for Kids with Autism: 21 Social Story Templates & Apps (2022)

If you’re the parent, caregiver, or teacher of a child with autism spectrum disorder, you are well aware of the social challenges kids with autism face, and if you’re looking for Social Stories for kids with autism, you’ve come to the right place.

While it has been said that no two individuals with autism are the same, social challenges are one of the hallmark symptoms of autism. A child with ASD may seem emotionally detached, have difficulty interpreting the thoughts and feelings of others, and struggle to see things from someone else’s perspective.

They may also have difficulty regulating their emotions and behaviors.

But there is hope.

With autism diagnoses being handed out as frequently as they are, the internet is full of autism resources, and there are heaps of Social Stories for kids with autism that help teach basic life skills. From potty training and tooth brushing to learning not to hit and bite and simple self-regulation strategies, we’ve got 21 social story templates and apps to help your child with autism.

(Video) Autism Help - How to Write Social Stories for Kids

Let’s start with the basics…

What is a Social Story?

Created by Carol Gray, Social Stories are written descriptions of everyday situations and events told from a child’s perspective. The intention behind Social Stories is to give a child something to rehearse so that she’s prepared once the situation described actually takes place. This can be an excellent strategy to prepare your child for toilet training, to help encourage her to try new foods, to teach her what is (and is not) appropriate behavior, to help her understand important safety issues, and to teach her other life skills.

Check out the book The New Social Story Bookby Carol Gray for more details on how to use Social Stories to teach social skills to kids with autism.

How to Write a Social Story

While there are tons of free Social Stories available online as well as printable Social Stories you can download for a minimum fee, customized Social Stories tend to do best as they can speak to your child’s individual needs and include real life photos of the people and places related to the skill you are trying to teach.

Social Stories can be as simple or complex as you want to make them – don’t let the gorgeous videography and photography of others scare you off! You don’t need a degree in computer programming, nor do you need to be a renowned photographer to learn how to write a Social Story. All you need is a little creativity to find ways to explain life skills to your child.

Here are some basic tips on how to write a Social Story to get you started:

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  1. Start with a goal. What is it you are trying to teach your child? You should only have one goal per Social Story, and it should be very clear.
  2. Be a detective. Gather all of the information you need to write your Social Story. What skills does your child need in order to master the skill you are trying to teach? What obstacles do you foresee hindering your child’s ability to learn this skill? What tools and props can you use to facilitate openness to learning this skill?
  3. Use the right language. Social Stories should be written in the first person from the child’s point of view. Remember to use simple, positive, age-appropriate language and to incorporate descriptive sentences (the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of your story), offer perspective (how will the child react and feel?), and give clear direction (what is expected of the child?).
  4. Provide simple steps. When providing direction, break the skill or situation down into simple steps your child can follow. Remember that kids on the autism spectrum are very literal, so don’t skip the steps your feel are implied as your child may not pick up on these nuances.
  5. Include social scripts. If there is a verbal component to the skill you are trying to teach, make sure it is clearly outlined with a social script your child can follow.
  6. Appeal to special interests. If your child loves a certain TV character or has another special interest, use that to your advantage!
  7. Include photos. Children with autism are often visual learners, so try to incorporate visuals wherever possible. Ideally, you should use real-life photos of people, events, and places to make the Social Story as real as possible.
  8. Practice. Read the story with your child on multiple occasions and provide opportunities for her to practice the skill you are trying to teach. Have her read the story with others, and consider creating additional practice cards when teaching complex skills.

Social Story Examples

We have tons of great Social Stories app recommendations and Social Story templates below, but before we get to that, I wanted to share a couple of Social Story examples to help put you in the right mindset so you understand what they are all about.

I found a ton of No Hitting Social Story examples online, and they offer the perfect example of how simple or complex you can make them depending on your needs and how creative you are. Here are my favorites:

Free Download:

The I Will Not Hit Social Story by Boardmarker is a very basic example of a Social Story that can be created on a computer with clip art. Click here to access.

Paid Download ($4) with Additional Tools:

The No Hitting Social Story for Children by Teachers Pay Teachers comes with a color copy of a story available for download as well as downloadable desk cards for visual reminders. Click here to access.

(Video) What To Do When You Feel Like Hitting: A No Hitting Book for Toddlers by Cara Goodwin | Read Aloud

Free YouTube Clip:

If you do a quick search on YouTube, you find a ton of social stories about common topics. I particularly love the WonderGroveKids channel (subscribe for free here) and this clip offers a fun way to teach kids why they should keep their hands to themselves.

Social Stories App Recommendations

If you want to make your own Social Stories but aren’t really the writing type, there are a lot of fabulous Social Stories apps you can download to your smartphone or tablet. Here are a few of my favorites!

StoryMaker™ for Social Stories App by Handhold Adaptive, LLC

If you’re going to purchase software to create your own Social Stories, this is the app I recommend. It includes exclusive content by Carol Gray (creator of the Social Stories methodology) and it allows you to create your own Social Stories using pictures, text, and audio. What I love most about this app is the fact that you can email and print your creations, making it a HUGE time-saver for busy parents, teachers, and therapists!

If StoryMarker™ for Social Stories is too pricey for you, here are 3 other less expensive options I like:

Social Stories Creator & Library App by Touch Autism

This is a free app with social stories for purchase as well as the ability to create your own social story by uploading your own photos, recording your own voice, and more.

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Stories2Learn App by MDR

This is a step above the Social Stories Creator & Library app in that it has 12 social narratives and the ability to create customized narratives with photos, text, and audio recording. It’s a paid app, and can be used to create visual schedules as well.

Autism Toolbox Bundle App by I Get It LLC

This is another wonderful tool to help you inexpensively create customized stories for your child with your own photos, text, and audio files, and you can email them to yourself in PDF format so you can print off a hard copy.

Social Story Templates

While customized Social Stories are more effective and children enjoy using their tablets for learning, time is a luxury most of us don’t have. Thankfully, there are heaps of generous parents and therapists out there who offer Social Story templates and activities for download. I often find free Social Stories are way too basic, but a site called Teachers Pay Teachers offers fabulous printable social stories with activities at an affordable price. Here are some of my favorites, all of which are under $5!

Going Potty
No Hitting with Social Skill Activities
I Can Calm Myself Down
Sometimes I Get Angry
Respecting Personal Space Is Really Important!
It’s Okay to Ask for Help
Classroom Rules
Lining Up
Not Yelling or Crying in Class
The Fire Drill
Inside Out Feelings
No Screaming
No Swearing
I Can Brush My Teeth
Hygiene Set
Table Manners
Fidget Social Story

If you’re the parent or caregiver of a child with autism who struggles with social communication, Social Stories offer a fabulous opportunity to prepare and rehearse for events and situations before they take place. Whether you’re trying to teach your little one basic life skills, or equip her with the social skills she needs to succeed at school and beyond, a little creativity and a lot of practice can go a long way!

This post contains affiliate links.

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If you found these tips for writing social stories for kids with autism, as well as the social story templates and apps we shared helpful, please share this post on Pinterest!

Social Stories for Kids with Autism: 21 Social Story Templates & Apps (1)

And if you’re looking for more advice about autism and sensory processing disorder, please follow our ASD & SPD board, where we share all kinds of fabulous ideas!

FAQs

How do you write a Social Story for a child with autism? ›

A social story needs to have a title, introduction, body and conclusion. It should use gentle and supportive language. It should answer six questions: where, when, who, what, how and why? It should be made up of descriptive sentences, and may also have coaching sentences.

What apps are good for kids with autism? ›

6 Best Autism Apps For Skill Development and Confidence in 2021
  • Proloquo2Go. Apple only.
  • Language Therapy for Kids – MITA. Apple + Android.
  • Otsimo. Apple + Android.
  • ABC Autismo. Android only.

Is there a Social Story app? ›

The Social Story App is easy to use to create custom social stories. The structure is clear. Adding photos from the iPad allows teachers to personalize the specific story.

What are the 4 parts of social stories? ›

What are the Different Parts of a Social Story?
  • Descriptive: – This part answers the wh- questions relevant to the situation. ...
  • Perspective: – This part includes opinions, feelings, ideas related to the situation.
  • Directive: – This part includes a range of responses for a particular situation. ...
  • Affirmative: ...
  • Co-operative:
27 Mar 2017

What is the social story formula? ›

Five Factors Define Voice and Vocabulary: “A Social Story has a patient and supportive voice and vocabulary that is defined by five factors. They are: (1) 1st or 3rd person perspective; (2) Positive & patient tone; (3) Past, present, or future tense; (4) Literally accurate; and (5) Accurate meaning.

How do you start a social story? ›

Social Stories™ are usually written in first person from the student's perspective using positive, reassuring language to answer the who, what, when, where, and why of the situation and/or target behavior. Two main types of sentences are used when writing social stories: 1) descriptive and 2) directive.

What is Mita app? ›

MITA stands for “mental imagery therapy for autism” and uses puzzles to improve childhood development, attention, language, and visual skills, according to the app makers. It's available for both iOS and Android and is free to download and install.

What games are good for Autistic child? ›

Ten Toys and Games for Autistic Toddlers and Children
  • Sign up for AmazonSmile and designate Autism Speaks as your charity of choice.
  • Simple First Words: Let's Talk. ...
  • 2-in-1 Snug 'n Secure Swing. ...
  • Smart Tablet. ...
  • Sound Puzzles. ...
  • Jumpsmart Electronic Trampoline. ...
  • Calico Critters Family Camper and Cherry Cruiser. ...
  • Hungry Hungry Hippos.
6 Sept 2018

What is assistive technology for autism? ›

Examples include battery-operated sensory toys, visual timers, and social skills videos. High-tech AT is digital technology and can include anything from augmentative communication technology for non-verbal people to robots built to increase social skills in children on the spectrum.

What are Social Stories for autism? ›

Social stories explain social situations to autistic children and help them learn ways of behaving in these situations. These stories are sometimes called social scripts, social narratives or story-based interventions. Social Story™ and Social Stories™ are trademarks originated and owned by Carol Gray.

What is Social Stories software? ›

Social stories can help diffuse anxiety about social situations as they let people know what to expect, and how to behave in a variety of social settings. Creating and sharing these schedules and stories is easier than ever with this free social story app!

How do you make a social story for kids? ›

Creating Effective Social Stories - YouTube

Are Social Stories part of ABA? ›

Social stories are a big part of ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy, which is the most well-researched autism treatment. Still, parents and caretakers can use them outside of the treatment setting!

What tense are Social Stories written? ›

2) Usually, social stories are written in the present tense, as though someone is describing the events as they take place.

What are the three parts of a social story? ›

#3 Three Parts and a Title. A Social Story has a title and introduction that clearly identifies the topic, a body that adds detail, and a conclusion that reinforces and summarizes the information.

What are descriptive sentences in Social Stories? ›

1. Descriptive sentences: State the facts (e.g., “My name is ___.” Or “The teacher is standing.”) Include thoughts and feelings of the student and others in the story (e.g., “The teacher will like it when I listen.” Or “Many people want to learn.”)

Is autism a Hyperlexia? ›

Hyperlexia is often, but not always, part of the autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It's considered a “splinter skill,” a unique skill that doesn't have much practical application. But therapists can often use a child's hyperlexic skills as a tool for their therapy and treatment.

How often should social stories be read? ›

Reading the story together daily for several days is a good starting point. Consider your child's individual needs and adjust up or down from there. 5. Make time to discuss the story or for your child to ask questions after each reading.

When do you present a social story? ›

Consider telling a social story about a specific behavior right before you want the child to display that behavior. Social stories are highly effective when told right before the expected behavior is supposed to happen.

How much does Mita app cost? ›

Most MITA features are completely free and the free MITA version provides access to years of language therapy. Some additional features are available as a MITA Premium subscription for $69.99/year. Your subscription pays for the development of new language exercises that are added each month.

What is a Mita in autism? ›

Mental Imagery Therapy for Autism (MITA) is an early-intervention application for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). MITA app uses adaptive-learning technologies, with fun, educational exercises that adapt to a child's abilities, resulting in a highly-customized learning experience.

What is autism? ›

Overview. Autism spectrum disorder is a condition related to brain development that impacts how a person perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in social interaction and communication. The disorder also includes limited and repetitive patterns of behavior.

What do autistic kids like to play with? ›

The 10 Best Sensory Toys for Autism
  • Sensory Mats. A great sensory toy for children with autism is a series of sensory mats. ...
  • Chew Toys. ...
  • Sand, Slime, or Putty. ...
  • Pin Art. ...
  • Rainmaker Toys. ...
  • Fidget Spinners. ...
  • Electric Dog Pet. ...
  • Senseez Vibrating Cushion.

What are good activities for autism? ›

Hobbies such as collecting stamps, playing cards or board games, drawing and photography can also provide opportunities for enjoyment, as well as increased self-confidence and motivation individuals on the spectrum.

How do you get an autistic child to engage? ›

5 tips to engage children with autism in active play
  1. Make the “unknown” a bit more familiar. ...
  2. Incorporate “favourites” into any activity. ...
  3. Celebrate small successes, then build on them. ...
  4. Chat with your local community centre, and work together with instructors. ...
  5. If things don't go well the first time, try again.
2 Apr 2018

Why are ipads good for autism? ›

On an iPad, an autistic child can create a sentence or even story using a series of images. By doing so, the child can communicate with parents, caretakers, and instructors without frustration. Since the iPad is mobile, children with autism can take this communication tool wherever they go.

How is autism inherited? ›

Inheritance. ASD has a tendency to run in families, but the inheritance pattern is usually unknown. People with gene changes associated with ASD generally inherit an increased risk of developing the condition, rather than the condition itself.

How can autism improve communication? ›

Autism communication strategies: Guidelines for nonverbal autistic children
  1. Encourage play and social interaction. ...
  2. Imitate each other. ...
  3. Focus on nonverbal communication. ...
  4. Give time for your child to talk. ...
  5. Simplify your language. ...
  6. Follow your child's interests. ...
  7. Consider assistive devices and visual supports.
25 Oct 2021

What is a social story for autism? ›

A social story is a narrative made to illustrate certain situations and problems and how people deal with them. They help children with autism understand social norms and learn how to communicate with others appropriately. Who developed Social Stories?

How do social stories help autism? ›

Using photographs and descriptive words, these stories take children through real-life situations and attempt to guide their behavior. Social stories have often been used to help children with autism or other disabilities to learn coping and social skills, as well as to work through behavior management strategies.

How effective are social stories for autism? ›

Research shows that social stories can have positive effects on the behaviour of autistic children. Research also suggests that they might be more effective at helping children manage their behaviour than helping them learn particular social skills.

What is a social story for children? ›

What is a social story? A social story is a simple story that describes a social situation and the appropriate way to act in that situation. The story can teach kids about a certain event (like their first trip to the Dentist), skill (such as sharing), or topic (for example, how everybody is different).

Do social stories really work? ›

Although most studies showed that social stories were effective in teaching social skills to children with ASD in the descriptive study, in the meta-analytic study, the mean of Percantage of Non-overlapping Data (PND) scores for all studies was 63.43%, with a range of 0% to 100%.

What is a social script? ›

A social script is a document that uses storytelling techniques to explain new experiences and environments to autistic people through simple language and images.

How do you make a social story for kids? ›

Creating Effective Social Stories - YouTube

What is social story strategy? ›

Social Stories™ are a method of communication between a student with autism and the professional/parent. They are used as a means of clearly communicating information about a context, skill or concept in a way that is meaningful to someone with autism.

What does Hyperlexia mean? ›

Hyperlexia is advanced and unexpected reading skills and abilities in children way beyond their chronological age. It is a fairly recently named condition (1967) although earlier descriptions of precocious reading do exist.

Are social stories ABA? ›

Social stories have been used throughout history as a way to communicate important information. Now, in the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA), social stories can be an effective way to teach children behaviors and developmental skills, particularly for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

How often should social stories be read? ›

Reading the story together daily for several days is a good starting point. Consider your child's individual needs and adjust up or down from there. 5. Make time to discuss the story or for your child to ask questions after each reading.

Who benefits from social stories? ›

“A social story is an aid to help children with social or sensory needs that prepares them for what to expect as well as what to do or how they might feel in an event or unfamiliar situation,” explained Abby Cureton, Speech Language Pathologist at Summit DD.

Are social stories Ableist? ›

But mass production of social stories also allows for a potentially helpful tool to be used as an ableist and coercive method to convince autistic children that they are always responsible for how they are treated.

What are social stories in special education? ›

A Social Story presents social behaviors in the form of concrete, visual cues that make the information more digestible for kids who aren't able to conceptualize an image when someone verbally explains what to do or what to expect. Social Stories are a great tool for increasing social growth in children.

What is a social story in the classroom? ›

Social stories – a visual resource used to teach desired behaviours (especially with students with disabilities). Students are stepped through desired behaviours in specific situations (such as turn-taking and making friends).

Is autism a Hyperlexia? ›

Hyperlexia is often, but not always, part of the autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It's considered a “splinter skill,” a unique skill that doesn't have much practical application. But therapists can often use a child's hyperlexic skills as a tool for their therapy and treatment.

Videos

1. Library for Kids: Rules, History & Manners | Social Studies for Children | Kids Academy
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2. "Where to be Loud and Quiet" (Animated story w/words)
(Joshy's Storytime)
3. Stress Management Tips for Kids and Teens!
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4. Social Skills Video: Think it Or Say It
(Everyday Speech)
5. Olivia's New School - Good Habits Bedtime Stories & Moral Stories for Kids - ChuChu TV
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6. Read Aloud Story - Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen [School Rules & Self-Regulation]
(Read Aloud Adventure)

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