Blog home
The Blog

Fresh Ideas and Inspiration for education

How to use Social Situation Stories to help children develop social understanding

Social Situation Stories are a tried and tested method of helping children understand a social situation and learn how to deal with it in a positive way. Many children who have autistic spectrum disorders or behavioural issues are frequently guided through socially complex situations by means of a story.

Posted on Wednesday 12th April 2017

Social Situation Stories


Social Situation Stories offer an explanation of one situation at a time. They are kept simple and straightforward and are designed to clarify required behaviour and understanding, not overload the child. The stories should be positive and offer a good model of behavioural option for the child. They should seek to explain the social situation and the possible behaviours that they may encounter.

How to use Social Situation Stories 

  • Keep it simple and to the point – Don’t be tempted to try to cover more than one topic at a time. Carefully consider what is the most functionally important situation to the child at this time and work on this first.
  • Write the story for the target audience – Make sure that you use language that is appropriate and commonly used by the child who requires the social situation story.
  • Make it personal and appropriate for the child – If the child uses PECS that is entirely appropriate to continue using with a social situation story. It is highly effective to use digital photographs of the people and places described in the story.
  • Share it! – Before using a social situation story, share it with parents or other members of staff to check that you are offering an appropriate behavioural model and explaining situations that are pertinent to the child in the story.
  • Feedback – When the child begins to show improved understanding or behaviour that links in with what they have been learning from the story, make sure that you praise the child and clearly make a link with what they learned in the story.

With thanks to Alison Harris, Paediatric Occupational Therapist, for this article.

Click here to view our Social Situation Stories resources.