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All images and posts written by and copyright to Amanda Clements (nee Gray) 2009-2012 unless otherwise indicated.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Teaching pragmatics using Social Stories

(Following on from previous post)
A Social Story: When I want to play with blocks

I like to build with blocks. But sometimes other children are playing with the blocks.

I won’t get mad. I will just ask to play.

I will look at the child who is playing with blocks. I will try to smile. I will say their name.

When they are looking at me, I will ask, “Can I play?”

Sometimes they say, “Yes.” This makes me happy. I will take turns with the blocks. I will share the blocks with my friends.

Sometimes they say, “No.” I will try to stay calm and not get angry. If they say it in a rough voice and tell me to go away, I will go to the teacher and ask for help.

But they are not always being nasty. If they say it in a softer voice, or if they say “Not now” the children might be building something special and I will wait until they are finished.

Sometimes there are too many children playing blocks already. I will stay calm and wait until it is my turn.

While I am waiting I will play on the computer or do some drawing.

Images are from the children's book, Dave is Brave, written by Amanda Gray and illustrated by Daniel East.

Copyright Amanda Gray and Daniel East 2008

Social stories

Social stories were first introduced by Carol Gray (1994). Social stories are a way of helping children, especially those with Autism, learn social skills. They can be used to teach children to recognise facial expressions, body language and other social skills necessary for interacting with their peers.

Social stories aim to give children a concrete description for the very abstract things that occur in social interactions. Wherever possible, they should be accompanied by relevant pictures. They are written specifically for a child and a situation that the child may be finding difficult.

For children who may have a very literal and concrete way of understanding their world, these stories can be very useful. If you want to read more about social stories, you may want to find some of the following books and websites:

Education Queensland Disability Support Services (2006) Social Stories. Retrieved 16/04/2009 at:

Gray, C. (1994) The New Social Story Book, Future Horisons: Arlingon.

Latrobe University. (2009). Social Stories. Retrieved 16/04/2009 from:

Smith, C. (2003). Writing and Developing Social Stories: Practical Interventions in Autism. Speechmark: Oxon

Some other great sites include:

The originator of social stories – find her list of publications and more information at

For Aussies, Carol Gray’s My Social Stories Book is easily purchased at:

Autism Spectrum Australia at

The Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support website at

Tony Attwood’s website. Here’s a link to his list of useful publications on socialisation:

Or Sue Larkey’s website at


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