Social Narratives

Carol Gray states that ‘A Social Narrative is used to describe a situation, skill, or concept in terms of relevant social cues, perspectives, and common responses in a specifically defined style and format.

The goal of a Social Narrative is to share accurate social information in a patient and reassuring manner that is easily understood by its audience.’ In the following video, Carol Gray gives some advice on writing social narratives:

(Please do not share this video)

Social narratives can be used to teach a wide variety of social skills and life skills. An activity which the child/ young person finds challenging can be explicitly explained and rehearsed as many times as necessary. Therefore, when the child/ young person encounters the situation it will be more predicable which will in turn reduce their level of anxiety.

For example, if the child or young person has an opportunity to peruse a social narrative about a trip to the library prior to the trip, they will be aware of the protocol of selecting a book, taking the book to the desk, presenting the library staff with their library card and book and then being able to take the book out on loan.

A social narrative could also be used to explain why it is necessary to brush our teeth (for example to protect our teeth and prevent tooth decay) in addition to using a visual schedule which details the routine of teeth brushing.

For additional reading about Social narratives click here.

Social narratives can be purchased from a variety of companies, some examples are listed below:

Alternatively, many Social narratives are available to download from the internet. A variety are shown below:

It is best to individualise the Social narrative as Carol Gray intimates in the video above and is also endorsed by Withey (2017).

Some websites and Apps enable teachers and parents to write their own social narratives. Suggestions of such sites/ Apps are shown below, click on the images to view the relevant websites.

Further reading