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Social Narratives (SN)

Social narratives (SN) are interventions that describe social situations in some detail by highlighting relevant cues and offering examples of appropriate responses. They are aimed at helping learners adjust to changes in routine and adapt their behaviors based on the social and physical cues of a situation, or to teach specific social skills.


Social narratives (SN) are individualized according to learner needs; they describe the desired or targeted social behavior to the learner. A social narrative shares relevant social information, explicating the relevant social cues, perspectives, and appropriate responses in a reassuring, nonthreatening way. The most widely used social narrative method is Social Stories tm by Carol Gray (Gray, 1998; 2010). The purpose of a social narrative is not to tell the learner how to behave, but to describe and explicate the social situation so that it is more understandable to the learner. Sentence types that are often used when constructing social narratives include descriptive, coaching (or directive), perspective, affirmative, control, and cooperative. Social narratives should be written at the child’s language level in an emotionally safe way, meaning the language should be non‐judgmental and positive. In addition, combining social narratives with visual supports reduces the child’s cognitive load and aids understanding. Refer to the work of Gray (1998; 2010) for specific instructions on creating effective social stories.

SN meets evidence‐based criteria with 17 single‐case design studies. According to the evidence‐based studies, this intervention has been effective for preschoolers (3–5 years) to high school‐age learners (15–18 years) with ASD. SN can be used effectively to address social, communication, behavior, joint attention, play, school-readiness, academic, and adaptive skills.

Brief Adapted from

Wong, C. (2013). Social narratives (SN) fact sheet. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Research Summary

Ages (yrs) Skills Settings Outcome
3-19 Social, communication, interpersonal, behavior, joint attention, play, school readiness, academic, adaptive skills Home, school, community
The information found in the Research Summary table is updated yearly following a literature review of new research and this age range reflects information from this review.

Outcomes:     Evidence-based     Emerging     No evidence     Comprehensive

Steps for Implementation


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