Summer Social Stories Help Bring Back the Routine

by Tonia Ferguson
Director, Autism NOW Center

During the school year, many children with autism and other developmental disabilities follow a regular schedule that lets them know the activities they will participate in each day. However, because summers are typically less structured and may be filled with family vacations, visits, summer camp opportunities and other less-routine events, social stories may be particularly useful during these months. The stories may help provide consistency and predictability in summer routines that children with autism may crave as well as help them better understand social activities that may occur.

One way to create a social story is to take photos and create a visual picture book. For instance, if you want to send your child to summer camp, take pictures of the summer camp and the staff beforehand. Then, create a book called, “I’m Excited about Summer Camp!” The book may explain what summer camp is all about, what the child can expect out of the camp, similarities between camp and school, and the kinds of activities they will be participating in. After you make the book, it is critical to read the book with your children frequently so they can understand what will happen when they attend the summer camp.

Another way to create a social story is by composing digital stories that can be viewed on handheld devices like iPads, iPods, and DVD players or on the computer. You can use media production programs like Window’s Live Movie Maker to create videos or slideshows to help explain social situations to your children.  You can even burn these videos or slideshows to a DVD or download them to a digital device for your children to view while riding in the car. Social storiesbecome visual scripts for children and help them organize and interpret daily events without the assistance of a parent or caregiver. They may not always change the child’s behavior, but they are useful for helping children with autism spectrum disorder understand what to expect and how to deal with transitions and changes in their life.

This summer, we encourage you to use social stories to help create successful summer experiences for all. Plan, create, and design your summer social story today!

Below are some examples of digital social stories that you can find online!  If you find a Social Story or have created one that you have found helpful, please share them with us in our forum!

Social Story Examples:

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