Love it and List it: Behavior Management (Social Stories)

Behavior management Linky Party

I am late to the Linky Party but I still wanted to post this.

I work with SO many kids that have Autism.

These kids need strategies for Behavior Management.

I have been collaborating with teachers and helping them to see the importance/benefit of using social stories.

Many of my students are having difficulties with managing their anxiety as well as their behaviors.


 A teacher that I work with was writing social stories in the third person (i.e. “STUDENT’S NAME plays outside” rather than “I play outside”).  I thought that was a bit odd and wondered how the student would internalize the story.  So, I went on my search for a resource to help her out.  I had already done some research on social stories and I own the book by Carol Grey…but I wanted something short and sweet.  This document was helpful.

crying social story

The document describes using Directive Sentences which usually begin with “I can…” or “I will….”.


Now a little TWIST


Image © Graphics

—Although ASHA’s EBP Compendium says that “Social Stories demonstrated small positive effects on teaching appropriate behavior to children with ASD”, I would not discourage you from using social stories.

  • I think the point is that you should not simply rely on using ONLY social stories in your interventions with children with autism.
  • Furthermore, there needs to be more research done to look at the effectiveness of using social stories with this population.


ASHA’s EBP Compendium also provides recommendations for treatment.

“Established interventions that have been shown to increase communication and interpersonal skills include”:

  • Modeling
  • Naturalistic Teaching Strategies

By using social stories, you can model the expected behavior.  You can even have the child role play the behavior when they are calm.

When the child is experiencing the UNEXPECTED BEHAVIOR, this is when you implement the social story during a naturally occurring activity in the child’s environment (i.e. Naturalistic Teaching Strategies).

This may be pushing the envelope on the established interventions and how to use those with social stories but…Hey, this is how my mind works 🙂


Where to find Social Stories

behavior management with social stories

 **I do suggest writing your own social stories so that they are individualized**

It is also helpful to take pictures of the child doing the expected behavior and include that in the social story.  Sometimes I start with a pre-made social story and then I adapt it by changing the words for the child.  It is also great to have the child help you write the story by having them fill in words (especially emotion words, we don’t want to tell the child how they feel in that situation…unless they don’t understand and unless they don’t have that emotion word in their vocabulary).



**From my own personal goal bank:

STUDENT’S NAME will participate in the development of social stories written to address situations identified by his parents, teachers, himself, and SLP as challenging on 4/5 measured opportunities

STUDENT’S NAME will identify the feelings of himself and others in developed social stories in 4/5 measure opp.

STUDENT’S NAME will role play the actions depicted in developed social stories


More Resources


question mDo you use social stories with your students?

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