Social Stories Can Help in Pediatric ABA Therapy

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). In ABA therapy, a child may be working on building many different skills, such as communication or social skills, and a social story will address one particular skill that is being targeted in therapy. For example, a social story might focus on improving play skills and sharing toys with their classmates.

For children with autism, a visual support, such as a printed social story, can be extremely helpful since it can be difficult to follow verbal cues (e.g. instructions from a teacher during class). If a student is still developing their language and communication skills, a visual representation with an image or picture can help to communicate the expectations and instructions of their teacher or therapist. Also, having instructions in a printed format provides a concrete structure, which can be beneficial for children on the autism spectrum who are anxious about unknown variables.

How can social stories be used in ABA therapy?
The goal of ABA therapy is building positive developmental skills and resolving behaviors that are problematic. As a result, social stories can be helpful in addressing both positive behaviors and problematic behaviors. Let’s go back to the example of a social story about sharing toys. This story might be helpful for both children who are working on building interactive play skills, as well as children who exhibit a problematic behavior, such as grabbing toys away from their classmates. The social story might walk them through steps for sharing toys and explain why it is important to share.

Would you like to learn how to make social stories?
If you think social stories would be beneficial for your kiddo with autism, there are different methods for creating social stories. One of the most common ways to do so is using a program called BoardMaker. If you in the fields of ABA or speech-language pathology, you are likely very familiar with BoardMaker. Since there is an app to do just about anything these days, there are also apps for creating social stories, such as the Social Stories Creator. If you do not consider yourself to be the creative type or are looking for more ideas, there are plenty of ideas on Pinterest and other online sources.

Would you like to learn more about social stories and ABA therapy in Chicago?

Contact Chicago ABA Therapy to learn more about our services: ABA therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and therapeutic preschool program.

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Social Stories