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Does Social Stories Actually Work?

Updated: Oct 29, 2019

Child reaches out to dance therapist prop bag..

Therapist intervened.


Me: Say "excuse me,..."

Child: "excuse me.."

Me: "yes?"

Child: "yes?"

Me: Say "can I have the bubbles please?"

Child: Say "can I have the bubbles please?


How do we deal with this when our child is literally repeating every single verbal prompt we have given them? Would visual aide be more helpful in this kind of situation?

It is known that verbal prompts are harder to fade out compared to visual prompts.


So I have encountered a few situations while working with children on the spectrum during dance therapy sessions, which makes me wondered if "Social Stories" actually work.


It was claimed Social Stories, as a tool able to assist individuals who is on the Autism Spectrum Disorder to understand interpersonal communication so they could interact effectively. It was developed by Carol Gray in 1991 and Social Stories are short statements or descriptions of a certain event or situation/activities. It also includes certain information to assist individual to learn what to expect during the situation and why.


During my past experiences delivering Early Interventions, we often use script and visual aid to assist children. I have also learn to incorporated the use of this tool during dance therapy sessions. A few parents/caregiver came back saying that it was effective and that they have seen some changes to their child's behaviors. However, it needs to be done consistently across different settings.


Generally a typical social story script would look something like this.


Special needs educators utilize Social Stories as a tool to teach important non verbal cues in an event, learning how to take other's point of view or even understanding expectations.

As a dance therapist, I think it is a great tool to use, especially if it is collaborated with parents/caregivers at home.


In terms of behavioral management, I believe that social story does help a child to interact better. This is because it is a form of visual aid, which work as a prompt.

However, is it practical to carry a social story book with you all the time?

And would we able to get it out on time during a given situation?

Does this means that parents/caregivers or therapists need to be prepared all the time?

If social stories are individualized according to a child, how do we keep it consistent across settings?


Comments below if you have any thoughts or suggestions!

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