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How Social Stories Can Be a Game-Changer for Autistic  Kids in School

In schools across the country, there are children with unique needs, each requiring tailored support to be their most successful. Among them are autistic children, who often face challenges in navigating the social world around them. But what if there was an easy-to-use tool that could bridge this gap, making the school environment more accessible and less daunting? Enter social stories.

What are Social Stories?

Social stories are simple narratives that break down social situations or concepts into smaller, more understandable parts.  Like “digestible bites”!  They're designed to help individuals with autism understand social cues, expectations, and appropriate behaviors in various situations. Whether it's navigating the lunchroom, participating in group activities, or following classroom routines, social stories provide a roadmap for understanding and navigating the social world.

The Importance of Social Stories in School

For autistic kids, school can be overwhelming. The constant sensory stimuli, unpredictable social interactions, and complex routines can lead to anxiety and confusion. This is where social stories shine. By presenting information in a clear, structured way, social stories empower autistic children to anticipate and prepare for what's to come, reducing anxiety and increasing their confidence in social situations.

Peri's Story: A Morning Routine Made Easier!

Last year, I worked with Peri’s family on creating supports that would make school more accessible and enjoyable for him.  Peri was 6 years old, autistic, super smart, but struggled with transitions, especially his morning routine when he arrived at school. Mornings were rough.  Hallways could be loud and crowded and sometimes, it was hard for Peri to read the number on the door of the classroom, leaving him feeling lost and anxious. But that all changed when Peri was introduced to a social story that supported his morning routine. 

The social story depicted each step of Peri's morning routine in simple language and was accompanied by colorful illustrations. From getting out of the car in the car circle, walking to his classroom, and unpacking his backpack, every aspect of Peri's morning arrival at school was laid out clearly in easy-to-understand language. The story also included positive affirmations and reminders to stay calm if things didn't go exactly as planned.

With his social story, Peri felt more confident and less stressed each morning. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the chaos of his morning routine, he knew exactly what to expect and how to navigate each step of his routine. With practice and repetition, Peri's morning routine became smoother and more manageable for him.  He also had the support of a friend in his class (we love peer supports!) and his very kind teacher.

The Impact of Social Stories

Peri's story is just one example of how social stories are making a difference in the lives of autistic children in school. By providing structure, predictability, and guidance, social stories empower autistic kids to navigate social situations with confidence and independence. They promote understanding, reduce anxiety, and foster inclusion in the school community.  Social stories are a definite WIN!

In the journey of supporting autistic children in school, social stories are invaluable tools that can make a world of difference. By breaking down complex social situations into manageable steps, social stories empower autistic kids like Peri to navigate the school environment with confidence. As educators, parents, and caregivers, let's continue to harness the power of social stories to create more inclusive and supportive learning environments for all children.

Need help with social stories for your autistic kiddo? CLICK HERE to schedule a free consultation, and let's chat about what you might need. I would love to help.


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