February Feature: A New Kind of Social Story

It’s finally February! I’m kicking of my month of guest posts! 10 posts from my favorite bloggers, full of information about a variety of speech and language topics! Today I’m welcoming Nicole Allison of Speech Peeps! Nicole’s posts always draw my eye. She loves to incorporate EBP and is inspiring me to incorporate more into my posts too! Please welcome Nicole as she gives us some ideas for updating from the traditional social story! 

Speech Peeps
Social Stories. I love them.  In my experience, when a student exhibits behaviors, speech therapists are often pulled in to consult with.  Let’s admit it; we know a little something about behavior.  We know that often, a child exhibits behaviors because they can’t communicate.

Enter: The Social Story.  If you know me by now, you know that I like to include the research that backs up why I do what I do.  According to Adams and VanLue (2004), using social stories was found to be a beneficial tool in decreasing frustration behaviors.  For more information on social stories click HERE .

Like a lot of speech therapists, I was using Boardmaker to write social stories-which is great.

However, I recently went to a conference by Jamie Harding (The University of Akron-my home school :-)), which showed me how you can use your iPad to create social stories-which is even better.  

Here is how I’ve been using my iPad for kids with behaviors, social deficits, or kids just needing a visual:

1.     The iPad Video Social Story.

You will need a video editing app for this. I use iMovie  which sells for $4.99. There are also free apps like Vimeo and Video Editor Free.

Here are 3 easy steps!

1.     Record the student doing an appropriate behavior. Here is the beauty-you may give as many prompts as needed!

2.     Edit the video to take out all of the prompts.

3.     Email the video to the teacher and have the student watch himself doing the behavior independently.  This greatly increases the student’s confidence of being able to do it!

Below I will describe one that I made (I would love to show you but for confidential reasons, I can’t).

I had a little guy who was very reluctant to do anything in the classroom without the help of his aid.  His teacher and I consulted on what she wanted to see him do independently.  Then, his aid and I walked him through putting his book bag in his cubby, retrieving his pencil and going up to the smart board to answer a question, all while I recorded him.

Here’s my favorite part- I took out all of my prompting.  It literally looks like he is doing everything by himself!  You can also record over the sound and add your own voice.   “At school, Joe is able to do things all by himself….He is able to put his book in his cubby all by himself…Joe is very good at answering questions.  He is able to go to the smart board and answer questions all by himself… Joe is great at doing things all by himself.

Finally, just for fun,  I added some hip music in the background (which you are able to do with iMovie) and it looked and sounded like a mini movie of my student doing things all by himself!  I emailed it to the teacher and she shows it to him on a regular basis.

The result? …. He has gained a ton of confidence and is starting to do things independently!

Another social video I did was for my high school social group.  The teacher and I planned to take them on an outing to a buffet.  As you know, a food buffet has a lot of unspoken social rules…

How much food do I take?   Do I use the same plate?   How many times can I go back up for more food?

To help with the experience, the teacher and I set up a look-alike buffet in the teacher’s lounge.  We then walked the students through getting a plate, picking up food, going to another table, etc. I then edited out all the prompts and (again) set it to some cool high school music.  The kids loved watching themselves at the buffet!  And…it helped to prepare them for the real thing.

I know what you’re thinking….How do I have time for this?!  I thought the same thing, but after making your first video, you become familiar with the process and it becomes a snap.  Now, creating a social movie actually takes me less time that writing a social story…and it is much more meaningful to the students.

2.     Comic Strip Social Story

Another way to create a social story using the iPad is by downloading Strip Designer for $2.99.  With this app, you can create social stories that resemble comic strips. This app allows you to add photos, speech balloons and stickers.  You can also paint on the photos or draw your own pictures.  And of course, you may then email the story to teachers or students.

Here is one I created for a little guy that needed reminders on how to play a board game:

I love making things visual for my kiddos. It’s proven to work and I’m seeing the results with my students.  As professionals, we need to keep adapting our ways to fit our students’ needs.  I hope you gained some fresh ideas would love to hear how you are using your iPad with students!

Thanks again!

Nicole Allison 

Lovely comments

  1. 4

    says

    I love to make specific social stories with photos, and not generic ones! I hope I can get the funding to download these apps!!!

  2. 6

    says

    Very cool! I have iMovie on my iMac. I have made movies before in the past for my treatment room, but not for social stories! Good idea! I also like the comic strip thing- neat! Thanks for sharing.

    Jenna- thanks for the invite of Allison to do a guest post! I think she has so much good information to offer people! I can’t wait until the next guest posts of February!

  3. 8

    says

    LOVE THESE IDEAS, I’m getting my iPad next week thanks to a grant. Can’t wait to try it out with a video social story.

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